Australia and New Zealand still optimistic on medical tourism

by Nadia ,  BioMedME | 2011-02-26

Although each country can only count the number of true medical tourists, (excluding treatment for holidaymakers, business travellers, expatriate workers and spa/health tourism) each year as a few hundred, both Australia and New Zealand remain hopeful of attracting medical tourists.

Current estimates for New Zealand are around 500 to 700 people a year, mostly from nearby islands with poor medical facilities. The only real attempt at estimating Australian figures came in a report from a now defunct organization that made a rough guess at 7,000 a year, but could neither define what they meant as a medical tourist nor provide any basis for that figure; industry information suggests the real numbers are much lower.

The global recession has hit both countries hopes of attracting medical tourists in real numbers, as their prime target market of the USA has been the worst hit economically. Attempts to build the market are driven in both places by a handful of pioneers and believers, as neither government has shown any inclination to promote or invest in their country as a destination.

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