East Meets West: Asian Markets Take Flight at World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress

From Thailand to India, healthcare providers making connections at health travel conference, Sept. 20-24, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC, September 02, 2014 --(PR.com)-- The ancient Silk Road, which leads from the Far East to points West, continues to draw closer in the name of health as the number of medical tourism patients traveling to and from Asia is predicted to surpass 10 million by 2015 -- an increase of 20-30 percent each year and far ahead of the region’s overall travel streams -- the Medical Tourism Association®, which hosts the 7th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, Sept. 20-24, 2014, in Washington, D.C., announced today.

J.M.H. (Mack) Banner, CEO of Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok and a speaker at the health travel conference, said about 26.7 million visitors arrived in Thailand last year, 2.5 million of those travelers for medical tourism procedures and treatments.

"Healthcare in the United States is an expensive proposition; one that is pushing more American employers to seek alternatives for providing medical care for their employees," said Banner. "We want these employers to know that selected medical facilities, such as ours here at Bumrungrad, have medical and hospital staff, facilities, and advanced clinical programs and services on par with, and sometimes exceeding, western standards, but continue to offer substantially lower prices."

When James Michael, 35, began looking for an affordable option to cervical disc replacement surgery in the United States, he, like thousands of Americans each year, chose Fortis Healthcare in Bangalore, India, instead. Fortis, accredited by the Joint Commission International and a sponsor of the Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, treats ten times the number of American patients it handled a decade ago.

Renée-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association®, said Thailand, India, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia have become popular destinations in Asia, but price, procedure type, expertise and accreditation and accessibility are important criteria for choosing a location. Not surprisingly, a growing number of medical tourism patients to these destinations are wealthy Chinese nationals who are not satisfied with treatments on the mainland.

“Travel agencies are taking advantage of Asian markets, offering packages – to destinations as close as Japan to as far as the United States and Canada -- that include five-star hotels, fine cuisine and airfare,” said Stephano. “The Congress is where these relationships -- between healthcare providers and the business that seek their services – develop and take off.”

The World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (www.medicaltourismcongress.com/) attracts some 3,000 key stakeholders – hospital administrators, doctors and clinicians, government policy makers, employers, medical tourism facilitators, insurance executives and hospitality and travel interests -- from across the globe to share their experiences in an effort to identify and solve issues that have significant bearing on the industry. For a preliminary list of speakers, go to: http://www.medicaltourismcongress.com/speakers_year/2014-speakers/

About the Medical Tourism Association®
The Medical Tourism Association® is the first membership-based international nonprofit trade organization for the medical tourism and healthcare industry made up of top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies, and other affiliates committed to promoting the highest level of quality healthcare to patients in a global environment. www.MedicalTourismAssociation.com
Medical Tourism Association
Joseph Harkins
1.561.791.2000, ext. 803