How COVID-19 Pandemic Stress is Changing the Face of Medical Tourism Industry?
Medical tourism is on a standstill due to the restrictions of travel and the closing down of borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus. The large-scale businesses of medical tourism are taking a pragmatic approach to foreign patient cancellation to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Many medical tourism or travel events, specifically the ones scheduled during the first six months of 2020 have been moved to a future date or cancelled.
The life-threatening COVID-19 virus that emerged in Wuhan, China has become the greatest fear of companies and individuals. For those involved in medical travel business and the patients wanting to undergo particular treatment, the upcoming months are going to be very difficult. Medical tourism is on a standstill due to the restrictions of travel and the closing down of borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus. According to the Research Dive published report, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the global medical tourism market in a negative way. The World Health Organization (WHO) statistics reveal that about 40% of the people all across the globe prefer medical tourism as it provides easy access to advanced technology and medication.
Changing the Face of Medical Tourism Industry Due to Pandemic Stress
Similar to other industries, the medical tourism market includes providers of various different sizes. Listed below are some points in which they might be affected:
- Large and Well-established Businesses in Medical Travel: These professionals mainly include hospitals, large clinics, largest agencies, and hospital groups who have increasingly invested in an international patient business for generating high revenues during pre-COVID-19 pandemic stress. These companies have also invested immensely before the COVID-19 crisis, which has made them most resilient to a business downturn. Thus, the large-scale businesses of medical tourism are taking a pragmatic approach to foreign patient cancellation. For these businesses, this is just another disaster that will pass.
- Medium-sized Medical Travel Providers: These professionals include average size agencies or clinic, which are in a better position as compared to large-scale businesses. They might consider the COVID-19 pandemic stress as just another crisis, maybe downsize their staff, cancel their participation in events, and reduce their spending to recover their losses after the crisis.
- Small-sized and Market-sensitive: These professionals mainly include medical travel consultants, small agencies, and startups. These businesses tend to have limited cash flow and budgets, and are most sensitive to rise and fall in medical tourism flow due to COVID-19 pandemic. They are likely to cut back on customer services and marketing immediately, dismiss personnel and potentially even disappear from the industry. However, it may also be difficult for the small-sized businesses to restart their business post the COVID-19 crisis.
Thus, the providers of all these different sizes need to implement several strategies to recover their losses such as utilizing time wisely for fewer customer interactions in order to prepare and reorganize the medical travel. The above-mentioned different businesses will update themselves regarding the changes happening in the international patient market. They will train their people, search for new markets, apply healthcare protocols, and rewrite their business plan to sustain. Once the COVID-pandemic stress come to an end, these businesses will also try to identify the ‘when and where’ of future opportunities.
Impact on Medical Tourism Events
Along with medical tourism providers, the event organizers are also sensitive to the impact of COVID-19. Many medical tourism or travel events, specifically the ones scheduled during the first six months of 2020 have been moved to a future date or cancelled. This has been inclined by the people’s personal choice of not wanting to travel and also due to restrictions announced by various countries regarding the public gatherings.
Moreover, seasoned event organizers have downsized their events by anticipating fewer delegates and booking smaller halls, rather than entirely conking out of the market. Medical tourism exhibitions have evidenced even more sensitive than conferences. This is because the exhibitions need a greater number of anticipated visitors to be sustained.
Planning Recovery Post COVID-19
It is predicted by more pragmatic media articles that COVID-19 will pass like other flu, political or health crises. It is just a matter of time.
The accommodation and flights costs may be very competitively priced to attract international travelers as medical tourism picks up again. The costs associated with the treatment will possibly follow along with the other services related with medical tourism. However, the first medical travellers post-COVID-19 pandemic are likely to revel in their treatment journey at no waiting time and very affordable prices.
The established medical tourism destinations, where health bodies and governments have best managed to contain the spread COVID-19 may be seen as safer countries for patients beholding at healthcare options abroad. The medical tourism or travel providers in these safer countries who have successfully survived the COVID-19 pandemic are the ones who can possibly to enjoy the first fruits of the post-era of COVI-19.
In conclusion, lessons learnt from COVID-19 are an opportunity for authorized companies. The trending topic for medical tourism is healthcare quality assurance, as several hospitals with certifications from high-quality authorized companies have been well-organized to handle the pandemic stress.