The Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times are reporting that the Australian Government is looking to promote Australia as a medical tourism destination for wealthy Asian heath travelers. The Australian government wants to market Australian medical services to the rich from the developing world, like Thailand, the Philippines and India. Aren’t those are some of the same countries that Australians seek out for medical tourism and dental tourism?
However, the Australian Medical Association, is warning that the arrival of medical tourists would put too much pressure on the already over-burdened medical system. But the Australian government, nonetheless, wants to commission a $50,000 study on high-end medical tourism. The AMA further argues that if the proposed high-end medical tourism were to take off, there would not be enough doctors to handle to influx of medical tourists, along with existing number of local patients. And the association worries that some Australian doctors might cater exclusively to medical tourists, depleting the pool of available doctors even further.
Australia might be a hard sell for medical and dental travelers from Asia due to the growth of JCI International hospitals and super specialty hospitals throughout Asia, particularly in India. With so many JCI International and specialty hospitals, wealthy Asian medical tourists might well seek out local specialists and treatments.
So what exactly are the high-end medical procedures that Australia would like to offer health travelers; hip and knee replacement, stem cell treatments and cancer treatments, among others.
It will be interesting to see what the report recommends for Australian medical tourism. Australia is yet another country announcing an initiative. Last month, Taiwan announced that it too, wants to be a player in the medical tourism and dental tourism markets.
In other medical tourism news. Las Vegas is looking to enter the medical travel market as well. The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that Las Vegas is also looking to attract high-end medical tourists to the city – looks like Australia might have a fight on its hands for the high-end medical traveler. The Nevada Commission on Economic Development has put together an exploratory committee to see if medical tourism is viable for Las Vegas and can help rejuvenate the city after a long economic downturn.