Government eyes wealthy medical tourists

by Danielle Cronin ,  The Sydney Morning Herald | 2011-01-14

THE federal government is looking to cash in on the lucrative medical tourism market worth more than $20 billion a year and projected to grow by 35 per cent a year.

But the Australian Medical Association fears the timing is wrong, warning that bringing in medical tourists could exacerbate pressure on the health system.

The government is poised to spend about $50,000 on a scoping study after a discussion paper concluded that fostering a medical tourism market could prove a boon for the health and tourism sectors.
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Australia should target ''sophisticated, wealthy'' consumers, according to the preliminary analysis produced by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

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