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Medical Tourism: An Introduction

Chapter
Part of the Global Perspectives on Health Geography book series (GPHG)

Abstract

Travelling away from your own jurisdictional territory with a desire to get to faster, affordable and reliable medical care facilities is defined as medical tourism. Medical tourism is an ancient social practice of healthcare that dates thousands of years back. Sacred sites of Greece, Egypt, India and Persia have long tied history with healthcare travellers. The changing nature of civilisation and advancement of technology have made a crucial impact on healthcare travel to seek either holistic (i.e., through prayers, relaxation, exercise, visits to mineral springs, sea water or holy river, sacred temple baths) or biomedical (diagnosis, hospitalisation and surgical operations) cures. Globally, migration of patients is increasing every year. While on the one hand, patients migrate to get access to medical facilities inaccessible in their own country or are costlier, on the other hand, there are countries empowered to provide such amenities and cash on this distinct tourist segment. Medical tourism-generating regions are known as MTGRs and countries catering to their medical needs are termed as medical tourism destination regions or MTDRs (Gyu Ko 2011). This chapter highlights medical tourism as the commodity of services. It explores factors working behind the growth of this giant industry, drawing different estimates of market segmentation. It also brings about the gap present in existing knowledge of literature as revealed from an extensive survey of existing literature including patients’ guidebook, case studies, reports and articles.

Keywords

Medical tourism Industry History Products Regional disparity in healthcare Medical tourism market size and estimation 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anu Rai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography, School of ScienceAdamas UniversityKolkataIndia

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