Medical tourism industry is forecast to grow annually by 25 per cent over the next ten years. Report

Medical tourism offers huge prospects for the global tourism industry. Report.

This year, ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair, expanded its Medical Tourism segment. Medical tourism is a booming business, worth around $50 bn a year according to a report by Visa and Oxford Economics. So it’s no surprise that it is also a fast-growing segment at ITB Berlin, relocating to a larger hall for 2018.

Energy Clinic Spa inside hotel Odisej

Energy Clinic Spa inside hotel Odisej; image source: Energy Clinic Hotel & Spa Network

Medical tourism is one of the markets of the future: following last year’s successful launch of the important and fast-growing Medical Tourism segment at ITB Berlin, growing demand means it has had to relocate to a larger hall. Lectures and presentations took place there, and visitors were able to get detailed information on clinics, destinations and medical health insurances.

Travelling abroad for medical reasons is no longer simply a question of seeking treatments based on geographical availability; it has become a highly-competitive sector in its own right, with everything from cosmetic surgery and dentistry to dialysis and fertility treatment catered for within bespoke travel packages.

Speaking to international journalists at the first-ever Medical Media Lunch, ITB Berlin CSR Commissioner Rika Jean- Francois said the sector’s growth is driven by “people looking for affordable, high quality healthcare which may not be available in their own market. And if they can find it
in an attractive destination then it just helps sweeten the recovery process.”

According to Jean-Francois, interest in this segment has risen sharply in just one year. According to a new study, the industry is forecast to grow annually by 25 per cent over the next ten years, she added.

The Health Tourism Industry Conference (HTI) was this year’s official partner of the Medical Tourism Pavilion. HTI, which in 2018 is organising conferences in Zagreb and Brussels, specialises in medical congresses all over Europe.

medical tourism pavilion

ITB Berlin trade fair – The Medical Tourism Pavilion; image source:

Medical tourism offers huge prospects for the global tourism industry. According to the latest report by VISA and Oxford Economics, current turnover in the world’s medical tourism industry is around 50 billion dollars. Over the next ten years growth is forecast to reach up to 25 per cent per annum. The international rise in demand for Medical Tourism places at the World’s Largest Travel Trade Show reflects this trend.

Following the Medical Media Lunch 2018, the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) presented the world’s ten best clinics catering for medical tourists. In her lecture on ‘The forest and its health potential – a green pharmacy’, Dr. Karin Lehrmann, of Kaiserbäder Insel Usedom, illustrated the health benefits of trees. In their lectures, Berlin Health Excellence and Deutscher Heilbäderverband highlighted Germany’s role as one of the world’s leading medical tourism destinations.

On Thursday, 8 March, the HTI Conference presented its latest news. Other international exhibitors included the Dünyagöz Eye Clinic, the Esnaf Hospital from Turkey and the Conseil National of the Etablissement Thermaux from France.

The Institute for Research and Development of Medical Tourism from Gdansk updated visitors on the latest developments in medical tourism in Poland. Also providing information on their health services were Europäischer Heilbäderverband, Kvarner Health, the International Medical Group from the Dominican Republic and the Energy Clinic from Croatia. Other exhibitors included Visit Jordan with the King Hussein Cancer Center, the largest of its kind in the Middle East.

Energy Clinic Carolea Spa kempinskiadriatic

Energy Clinic Carolea Spa at Kempinski Adriatic; image source:

As in every travel market, digitalisation is this year’s hot topic in the Medical Tourism segment. On Friday, 9 March, Dr. Andreas Keck talked about ‘The Digital Challenges in Global Medical Tourism’. Topics addressed by other lectures included the changes and developments taking place in medical tourism, and the resultant challenges facing hotels and destinations. At the event, Toscana Promozione Turistica provided information on Tuscany’s many spas.

itb 2018 - Digitalization imposes challenges on hotels

Digitalization imposes challenges on hotels; image source: itb berlin 2018