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Medical tourism in Ho Chi Minh City: potential yet inadequate

Monday 25, 06 2018
According to current statistics, Vietnam is a supplier with a low-cost health service to develop medical tourism. Ho Chi Minh City has also focused on this model. However, after a while, they have face with some problems.
Medical tourism in Ho Chi Minh City: potential yet inadequate
Medical tourism refers to people traveling to a country other than their own to obtain medical treatment. In the past this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home. However, in recent years it may equally refer to those from developed countries who travel to developing countries for lower priced medical treatments. The motivation may be also for medical services unavailable or illegal in the home country.

 

Health tourism is a wider term for travel that focus on medical treatments and the use of healthcare services. It covers a wide field of health-oriented, tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitational and curative forms of travel.

Medical tourism is considered as a potential industry of Southeast Asian countries. For example, Thailand and India, these two countries account for about 90% of the medical tourism industry share in Asia, with about 2 million visitors every year to Thailand for medical treatment.


 
According to current statistics, Vietnam is a supplier with a low-cost health service to develop medical tourism. Ho Chi Minh City has also focused on this model. However, after a while, they have face with some problems.

Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Dentistry is one of the first 14 hospitals to participate in the medical tourism program. Compared with other developed countries, the cost of teeth surgery in Vietnam is only one tenth, but the low cost does not mean that it will attract visitors.

Beside that, travel companies need to offer new products, but medical tourism is not easy to sell. As one of the largest companies to take international guests into Vietnam, but representatives of tour operators shared they have not had a specific plan to buy medical tourism for visitors.

HCM City Department of Tourism said that the number of foreign visitors to Vietnam for medical examination in 2017 reached about 80,000 with turnover of about USD2 billion. Ho Chi Minh City account for 50% of visitors with turnover of about $ 1 billion.

However, it is too time-consuming to convert potential figures into a specific product, as Vietnam is still relatively new in comparison with other countries in the region. The choice of medical tourism will be the main product associated with the national brand as some countries such as Thailand, Korea, India or Singapore, or just the type of added service on the tour should be considerd.

 
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