Health Tourism Seen as Next Growth Industry

by Ella Karapetyan ,  The Baltic Times | 2011-02-13

TALLINN - The Estonian Development Fund in October 2010 revealed a study called “Healthcare Services 2018,” which is part of a wider project on Estonia’s service economy that was initiated in 2008. This study analyzes opportunities for Estonia’s export of health and wellness services over the next decade, outlines choices for a strategy, and makes recommendations for action.

The study tested a hypothesis that Estonia has the potential for exporting healthcare services. The hypothesis was based on three assumptions: the continued global growth in healthcare services, the perceived strength of Estonia’s healthcare system and services, and Estonia’s intention to develop a knowledge-intensive, predominantly service-based export-oriented economy.

According to some experts, the basis for justifying the topic of this study was the fact that a commercial presence and outward direct investments, and consumption abroad tied with health tourism, comprise two major ways of cross-border provision of healthcare services (representing 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of global healthcare services export turnover).

Imre Murk, an expert at the Foresight Division on the service industry at the Estonian Development Fund, says that after considering different modes of exports and Estonian capacities, it was concluded that the opportunities to increase Estonia’s exports of health services may be primarily sought in health tourism, and therefore the report focuses on this topic.



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