Medical travel is an emerging global trend, a new frontier in health care, one that has already taken root in Mauritius, where travel and tourism is a cornerstone of the local economy. You may be wondering how “medical” and “tourism” can be placed side by side in a single sentence… Here’s one definition: it is the process of leaving home for treatment and care abroad.
Over the last two decades, a number of driving forces have pushed tourist to travel to obtain medical care: the rising cost of healthcare in industrialised countries, long waiting lists associated with appropriate medical treatment, cost savings, the ability to remain anonymous and maintain privacy overseas (this is especially true for cosmetic surgery), cultural affinity in terms of language, food, and religion, trade liberalisation, and the added benefit of a holiday.
Ho-li-day. Three syllables that conjure up images of balmy days of summer, and the acclaimed Mauritian hospitality (it never gets old). In recent year, Mauritius has developed its medical tourism industry, offering key specialities such as cosmetic or plastic surgery, fertility treatment, cardiology and cardiac surgery, dentistry, and hair grafting. The expanding and increasing sophistication of Mauritian healthcare has drawn approximately 15,000 medical travellers in 2015 (2005: 1,000), a dramatic increase that parallels the 50% increase in the number of institutions and clinics over the past three years.
A decisive factor in picking a destination is where and how to spend the post-surgery recovery period. Mauritius is, in this sense, a no-brainer – a place where one can rest, heal and bask in the year-round sunshine.