history of medical tourism

A look into the history and Types of medical tourism

History of medical tourism

The practice of seeking medical help across the border has deep roots. It has been practiced for ages. People have been traveling to other countries and cities seeking better medical treatment since the Mesopotamian civilization. Moreover, archeological evidence indicates people traveling to the temple of healing for eye disorders. It has grown to the level of a whole industry where people seek medical treatment and recreation in medical tourism. The global medical tourism industry values USD 19.79 billion, which may reach USD 21.93 by 2023 with a CAGR of 10.8%. The numbers are pretty significant. One reason for such high figures is that the industry has expanded to several types of medical tourism.

However, at this point, it is vital to mention that the account of the size of the medical tourism share is not that easy, and this is for several reasons. The reasons may be the indirect revenue stream such as tourism revenue, tourists, and medical tourists spending 5-10 times more than the typical tourists. Moreover, the tourists prefer to include recreation in medical tourism as well. Some other reasons for increased growth of the industry are cost for the same level of quality treatments or maybe better therapy than the home country.

Types of medical tourism

For better services and overview, medical tourism categorizes into the following types.

  1. Wellness tourism
  2. Sanatorium
  3. Hospital tourism

Wellness tourism

According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism refers to travel to maintain or improve personal wellbeing. Confusing wellness tourism with the general term of medical tourism is common. However, both the services are entirely different. Traveling to seek specific medical treatment or surgery which is not available at home is one thing. Conversely, wellness tourism is more related to restoring a healthy lifestyle. It is related to avoiding a particular disease and stress reduction.


Another type of medical tourism is sanatorium. It refers to complex medical and tourism activities carried out in a health center or spa. Moreover, these health centers are primarily the prime go-to place for rehabilitating, treating, and preventing several diseases.

Hospital tourism

Among all the three types of medical tourism, hospital tourism represents the typical medical tourism when a person travels to get quality treatment from a standard hospital abroad. The most common procedure or medical therapies for which hospital tourism is pursued include

Whatever the type of medical tourism it is, recreation in medical tourism is on the surge, which brings opportunities for culture-rich developing countries like Pakistan.