The global medical tourism market was valued at approximately $105bn in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its market value fell to around $71bn in 2020, a 34% decline.

However, the market began to recover quickly, growing at an annual rate of about 15% between 2021 and 2022. It is projected to enjoy increased growth in the coming years, reaching $239bn by 2029.

Growth Drivers

There are a number of drivers underpinning the rapid growth of medical tourism. Here are just a few:

  • Elevated Client Experience: Today’s discerning travelers seek more than just a vacation; they desire experiences that enhance their overall well-being. Medical tourism allows clients to receive top-tier medical treatments while indulging in luxurious wellness programs, ensuring they return home revitalized both physically and mentally.
  • Diverse Clientele:From high-profile individuals and top executives to those seeking alternative models of medical care or cost savings, the pool of travelers demanding medical tourism is vast and varied. These clients often value exclusivity of access, privacy during treatment, and exceptional service, all of which can be seamlessly integrated into medical tourism packages.
  • Holistic & Integrative Care:Medical tourism destinations often provide a holistic approach to health, treating clients not just physically, but also spiritually and emotionally. This comprehensive care is a significant draw for clients looking to escape the stresses of everyday life and focus on their overall well-being.
  • Cutting-Edge Treatments:Clients have access to advanced medical procedures and treatments that might not be available in their home country. This access to innovative healthcare solutions, combined with luxurious recovery environments, sets medical tourism apart.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions:Even affluent clients appreciate value. Medical tourism often presents high-quality medical services at a fraction of the cost in the client’s home country, without compromising on care or comfort.

The Case For Integrative Wellness Resorts

Integrative wellness resorts combine modern, science-backed, Western medical treatments with holistic wellness practices, offering clients the best of both worlds and making them ideal destinations for medical tourists working with travel advisors.

Imagine a setting in which you can receive cutting-edge medical care alongside comprehensive wellness services (e.g., detoxification treatments, stress management programs, fitness training, and nutrition counseling).

Patients can be confident in the rigor of these services, which are administered under the oversight of medical doctors. And, this comprehensive approach often delivers better outcomes relative to medical services rendered without the consideration of an individual’s wellness as a whole.

Treatments at integrative wellness resorts are often customized based on confidential personal consultations, which can reveal deeper health insights and allow for informed adjustments to an individual’s care plan.

Like in most Western countries, patients at integrative wellness resorts abroad are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality. As a result, they feel free to be fully candid about their behaviors, needs, and preferences.

The Telehealth Revolution

Telehealth has revolutionized pre-arrival and post-return care for medical tourists venturing outside their home country.

It allows clients to consult with healthcare providers from the comfort of their own homes, reducing the need for travel for initial consults and increasing the customization of care plans prior to day one of treatment. It also allows healthcare providers the ability to provide detailed pre-departure instructions, ensuring patients are well-informed – mentally and physically prepared for upcoming treatments.

Telehealth also makes possible ongoing support and follow-up care, ensuring that patients remain connected with their healthcare providers throughout their treatment journey. Following a traveler’s return to their home country, they undergo regular check-ins to monitor recovery progress and address any complications or concerns. They receive assistance with managing prescriptions,

understanding post-treatment care instructions, performing rehabilitation exercises, and addressing the mental and emotional dimensions of treatment.

Here’s what it looks like in practice:

  • Registration: The client signs up for telehealth services through a medical tourism provider’s website or a dedicated telehealth platform. An appointment is scheduled for an initial consultation.
  • Initial Consult:A video call with a healthcare provider covers medical history, treatment goals, and potential procedures. The provider answers any questions and provides detailed information about treatment options.
  • Preparation Phase:Preparation Phase: The provider gives guidance on any necessary pre-treatment steps, including lifestyle adjustments, dietary recommendations, and any required medical tests.
  • Treatment Coordination:At this stage, procedures are scheduled and travel arrangements are made. Close communication with the patient’s healthcare provider ensures that all necessary preparations for a smooth journey, arrival, and time zone adjustment are in place.
  • Post-Treatment Care:Regular follow up video calls ensure that recovery progress is carefully monitored. The practitioner may adjust the treatment plan as needed based on recovery progress and client feedback. The patient enjoys continued access to the healthcare provider and support staff in case of future concerns or if the need for follow-up treatment arises.

Case Study: Thailand

Thailand is renowned for its high-quality healthcare, provided at a fraction of its cost in Western countries. It is differentiated from other medical tourism destinations by its ubiquity of luxury wellness resorts, which provide ideal settings for post-treatment recovery.

Well-vetted Thai medical professionals are highly educated and experienced in specialty areas of medicine. The hospitals and clinics where these specialists operate are equipped with the latest medical technology and equipment. Many are internationally accredited, as well.

In summary, guests can rest assured that the affordability of their care does not compromise the quality of care they’ll receive. But, the cost savings are real!

Patients can save up to 70% on common medical procedures in Thailand compared to the United States. Additionally, there are often shorter recovery times due to integrated wellness approaches and high-quality post-treatment care services. Let’s look at a few examples:

Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeries

Breast augmentation

Thailand: $3,000-$4,000 cost, 1-2 week recovery time
US: $6,000-$12,000 cost, 2-4 week recovery time


Thailand: $2,000-$5,000 cost, 1-2 week recovery time

US: $6,000-$10,00 cost, 2-4 week recovery time

Dental Procedures

Dental Implants

Thailand: $1,500-$2,500 per implant cost, 1 week recovery time
US: $3,000-$5,000 per implant cost, 1-2 week recovery time

Teeth Whitening

Thailand: $200-$400 cost, immediate recovery

US: $500-$1,200 cost, immediate recovery

Orthopedic Surgeries

Hip Replacement

Thailand: $12,000-$15,000 cost, 4-6 week recovery time
US: $30,000-$50,000 cost, 6-8 week recovery time

Knee Replacement

Thailand: $10,000-$12,000 cost, 4-6 week recovery time

US: $30,000-$50,000 cost, 6-8 week recovery time

Bariatric Surgeries

Gastric Bypass

Thailand: $12,000-$15,000 cost, 2-4 week recovery time
US: $20,000-$30,000 cost, 4-6 week recovery time

Gastric Sleeve

Thailand: $10,000-$12,000 cost, 2-4 week recovery time

US: $15,000-$25,000 cost, 4-6 week recovery time

Other Procedures

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

Thailand: $15,000-$25,000, 6-8 week recovery time
US: $70,000-$200,000, 8-12 week recovery time

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Thailand: $6,000-$10,000 per cycle, variable recovery time

US: $12,000-$15,000 per cycle, variable recovery time

LASIK Eye Surgery

Thailand: $2,000-$2,500 (both eyes) cost, immediate recovery

USA: $4,000 – $6,000 (both eyes) cost, immediate recovery

Bringing Medical Tourism To Your Clients

  • Focus on Personalization: Wellness travelers often seek personalized care. Use your expertise in international travel to collaborate with luxury resorts to offer highly customized recovery packages that cater to individual needs. Whether it’s stress relief, detoxification, or fitness, these tailored experiences should showcase the availability of expert practitioners and state-of-the-art facilities. By providing customized care, clients feel valued and receive the exact treatments they need.
  • Promote Comprehensive Packages:Offer all-inclusive packages that cover accommodations, meals, wellness activities, and transportation. These comprehensive packages provide convenience and a seamless experience, making it easier for clients to commit to longer stays. Family and friends accompanying the client can enjoy exploring and experiencing extensive shopping opportunities and leisure activities. Highlight the ease and comfort these packages offer, ensuring a worry-free journey from start to finish.
  • Highlight Pre- & Post-Treatment Care:Clients often opt for luxury wellness resorts for their recovery phase. These resorts offer all-inclusive packages, with rates typically starting at $1,350 per person per night, all inclusive of extensive treatments. Highlight the importance of pre- and post-treatment care, ensuring clients have a rejuvenating, enjoyable experience. Additionally, offer options for the client’s companions to choose and customize their treatments, allowing everyone to enjoy a personalized and luxurious stay.
  • Network with Medical Facilitators: Building strong relationships with medical facilitators is crucial. These professionals are always looking for reliable travel partners to enhance their services. Collaborate with facilitators to ensure seamless travel arrangements for clients, from medical consultations to post-treatment recovery. By integrating travel services with medical care, you can provide a comprehensive package that meets all client needs.

By staying informed about the trends and opportunities in medical tourism, travel advisors can offer a comprehensive suite of services that cater to the holistic health and wellness needs of their elite clientele. This not only enhances client satisfaction but also positions the business as a leader in the luxury end of the travel market.