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Medical tourism in Australia: A scoping study

Patient travel for medical care and procedures


Medical tourism in Australia: a scoping studyThe trend for patients to travel abroad for medical care and procedures - generally known as medical tourism – arises where other countries offer medical procedures at more affordable prices or with more availability. In 2010, visitors to Australia for medical reasons numbered only 12,800 people out of a total of 5.5 million tourists – and a (variously) estimated total global medical tourist traffic of between 100,000 and 800,000.

From an Australian perspective, the underlying drivers of medical tourism demand have always existed, including high quality health services and low costs compared to the US. However, the full potential of these factors remains unrealised. Medical tourism supply in Australia remains scarce and disjointed, with few providers operating individually.

This report for the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism investigates the potential economic benefits and public health costs of medical tourism in Australia.

Contents include

Executive summary

  • Section1: Background: scope, structure, methodology
  • Section 2: Medical Tourism around the world: market size, global competitors
  • Section 3: Demand for medical tourism: drivers of demand including relative price, quality, availability of health services, exchange rates & income levels
  • Section 4: Supply of medical tourism: supply chain; gaps, barriers and opportunities
  • Section 5: Implications of medical tourism: potential benefits, risks, lessons from abroad.


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