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Der Medizintourismus boomt, Bild: AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / shutterstock

Global medical tourism is booming

The medical tourism industry has seen an increase of up to 30% in recent years. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that flying has become cheaper and easier. In addition, governments and the health care system have adapted to foreign patients. Similar to the package holiday, there are complete packages with visas, transport, advice, translators and everything that goes with it. The biggest advantages, however, are certainly that medical treatments abroad can save you a lot of money and you can also experience a few relaxing days. Why not have the dental treatment done in Turkey and then relax on the beach?

Healing holiday

If you have to have a medical procedure or want to take advantage of lower prices for cosmetic treatments, you can combine this with a relaxing holiday. Often this health holiday is still cheaper than the treatment in this country. There are several reasons why people choose medical tourism. A distinction must be made here as to whether it is a purely cosmetic procedure or preventive measures (health tourism) or whether the treatment is necessary from a medical point of view (medical tourism). In the latter case, Europeans benefit from the fact that necessary treatments in the Union are now also covered by the domestic health insurance funds. In many countries, this no longer even requires supplementary insurance.

Why can it be worthwhile to cross the border?

Even in primeval times, people have taken long distances for their healing. The Kneipp spa baths are probably one of the oldest and best-known examples of medical tourism. At that time, too, people went to the “healing sea air” or to the mountains. At that time, it was primarily the city dwellers who hoped for the desired healing from the untouched nature and treatments in such surroundings. Today, however, the field of medical tourism extends around the entire planet. Just to visit the dentist in Turkey and then a short vacation on the Mediterranean coast. For more and more people, this is nothing absurd, but quite normal. There are a wide variety of reasons for treatment abroad.

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Medical Tourism Turkey
Relaxing on the beach after surgery, Image: Denis Belitsky / shutterstock

At the top of the list, of course, are the cost factor and relaxation far away from the hustle and bustle at home. Particularly traditional healing methods are often only available in the home country. Ayurveda in India, the Chinese art of healing or the Wadden Sea. So if you are looking for alternative therapies, you can’t avoid a trip. In addition, not all methods available to medicine are recognized or even allowed in all countries. The big keyword here is fertility treatment. Here, for example, the standards in Germany are different from those in the Scandinavian countries. The same applies to abortions. These are not legal everywhere in the EU. And then, of course, there is the beauty holiday.

“The vacation has made you 10 years younger!”

For many foreigners, Germany is an attractive destination for medical interventions. Thanks to its high standards and very good specialists, it is popular with health tourists (especially from the Gulf States and the USA). In a Europe-wide comparison, Germany is one of the most expensive countries alongside Austria and Switzerland. This also applies to cosmetic treatments and preventive measures. Many of these applications are not covered by the German health care system and stars also travel abroad for their hair transplants, for example. At the top of the list for cosmetic procedures are Turkey, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic (the cheapest in Europe). The rejuvenation cure in a foreign clinic is therefore a topic today that is no longer taboo, but rather proudly posted in the holiday album.

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Motivation determines the holiday destination

Which country, which clinic and which doctor are all questions that should be answered on a country-by-country basis. It’s not so different from any other holiday. If you like it exotic, you should look around in Asia. If you prefer mountains and a mild climate, you can find it in the Italian Alps or in the Ural Mountains.

In the case of medical tourism, there is also the question of the accreditation of the doctor and the institution. Social media and the Internet are available to obtain information in advance. However, thanks to the great demand, there are now consultants who have a large portfolio of clinics and doctors. They have experience and can provide advice and support. The good reputation precedes the good physician and his institution. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to do a little research of your own in the case of major procedures.

Too often you hear about the botched cosmetic surgery. The resulting damage is often not covered by the domestic health insurance and those affected are left with the costs and the correction is associated with suffering. There are organizations that accredit doctors and clinics. These standards apply worldwide and are reliable. So it’s worth taking a closer look. In addition to the cost factor and the climate, safety should always be considered during a medical trip.