As medical tourism is emerging as one of the fastest growing segments in the global tourism industry, certain destinations in China have also begun to attract international travelers seeking traditional Chinese medicine services, Shanghai’s China Business News reports.
Data from the World Medical Conference shows that in 2013 the production value of the global medical tourism sector reached US$438.6 billion, accounting for 14% of the industry’s total output.
In recent years, the focus of the global medical tourism industry has been shifting to the Asia-Pacific, with Thailand, Malaysia, India, Singapore, South Korea and Japan being the most popular destinations.
Hainan, China’s southern island province, is currently working to get onto the list. In February 2013, the State Council officially approved a plan to develop a medical tourism pilot zone in Hainan.
Currently, most of Hainan’s medical tourists hail from Russia, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Norway. In 2013, for example, 170,000 tourists from Russia visited the resort city of Sanya, with 80% seeking medical and health services.
Chen Xiaoyong, president of Sanya Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, said treatments for international medical tourists usually include acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine healing, and span 10 days on average at a cost of US$1,500.
A more profitable service line is high-end medical tourism packages. Chen said his hospital treats about 3,000 high-end medical tourists per year, each spending US$20,000 on average.
Sa Ren, chief of the hospital’s acupuncture department, said the department, which treated only two international patients in 2013, is now obtaining one third of its total revenue from foreign tourists.
Learn more in our Global Ready China Seminars