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Case Title:

Asia: The Destination For Medical Tourism

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Amy Sonpal, Joel Sarosh Thadamalla

Industry: Health Care

Region:Asia

Case Code: CCA0029A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Abstract:

Asia had emerged as the destination for medical (healthcare) tourism capitalizing on advantages of “lower cost skilled personnel, cultural factors, natural endowments and unique forms of medicine.” The targeted consumers were patients from developed nations where medical treatments were expensive and the waiting lists long. By providing medical services to foreign customers, these countries were not only generating valuable foreign exchange, but were also creating employment opportunities. Thailand was the leader in the region, followed by Singapore and Malaysia and India as the preferred destinations for medical treatment

The benefits of foreign exchange, employment and growth in national income, which extended well beyond the medical, travel and tourism sectors attracted government interest across Asia, and efforts to attract medical tourists added to the growth of the industry

Though Asian countries provided cheaper medical services, they were also perceived by some as being manned by low quality doctors who provided poor quality treatment. Pricing of the treatments and packages across the region varied. Experts opined that the over emphasis on the foreign patients who offered higher revenue compared to domestic patients can be detrimental to public healthcare services in the home country. Despite the issues and challenges, the region had vast opportunity for growth

The case describes the growth and reasons of the Asian region as a preferred destination for Medical/Healthcare Tourism and the importance of the healthcare tourism industry in the Asian economies. The case details the issues and challenges for the countries in servicing the patients. The case ends on the discussion whether such emphasis on healthcare tourism was diverting the attention and resources of the government from the domestic healthcare needs, especially public health. With such competition and challenges, would Asian countries be able to capitalise on the opportunity and at the same time fulfill the social obligation of healthcare at home

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the growth and reasons of the Asian region as a preferred destination for Medical/Healthcare Tourism and the importance of the healthcare tourism industry in the Asian economies
  • To analyse the issues and challenges for the countries in servicing the medical tourist patients
  • To debate whether such emphasis on healthcare tourism was diverting the attention and resources of the government from the domestic healthcare needs, especially public health
  • To debate whether with such competition and challenges, Asian countries will be able to capitalise on the opportunity and at the same time fulfill the social obligation of healthcare at home

Keywords : Marketing; Destination marketing; Core Competency & Competitive Advantage Case Study; Marketing strategy; Market positioning; Niche market; Public and private sector involvement; Business strategy; Strategic management; Core competence; First mover advantage; Cost advantage; Service; Hospitality; Patient feedback; Competition; Asian economies; India; Singapore; Malaysia; Thailand

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