Medical tourism involves visiting another country in order to obtain health services. The number of tourists visiting Russia for the purpose of health tourism has almost doubled over the past two years. According to the Russian Association of medical tourism, more than 65 thousand medical tourists visited our country in 2016 and 2017. In the next few years, the Ministry of Health forecasts that this number could increase to 500,000 a year, with 60% of them being Central Asian citizens.
The medical tourism market has been changing over the past few years, if five years ago the leading positions were held by the USA, Germany and Israel, today, according to the rating of Health Care Outcome, the top five include Singapore, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Australia. Israel began to occupy the 10th place in the ranking. Active players in the market of medical tourism were Thailand, India and Malaysia. Our country is gradually becoming a competitive player in this market, which confirms the inclusion of Russia in the list of countries where you can get high – quality and relatively inexpensive medical care on the expert portal in the field of medical tourism- intmedtourism.com.
The main flow of incoming medical tourists is in the Central region of Russia (90% prefer to be treated in clinics in Moscow or St. Petersburg). And the most popular direction was dentistry-over the past two years, 44% of foreigners visited Russia in order to obtain such services. Among the popular fields of medicine, interesting to a foreign tourist, you can also select: gynecology and urology (25%), plastic surgery (10%), ophthalmology (10%) and cardiology (5%). The increased interest of foreigners in Russian medicine is primarily due to the cost of treatment in our country is 2-3 times cheaper than abroad. For example, the cost of a full diagnostic examination in Germany varies between 1500-15 000 euros, in Israel — 4600-6000 euros, in Russia such a service costs 380-1200 euros.
Medical tourism is also interesting as a direction of domestic tourism, according to various estimates, the volume of domestic tourist flow is up to 8-9 million people. Tourists from Russia come to Moscow to conduct various kinds of surveys, which are often not available in other regions. This is due to the fact that there are modern centers for the treatment of cancer in the capital. Clinics of Kazan, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Krasnodar are leaders in the field of cardiology. Among the regions that attract tourists from Russia for family planning services, Samara and Krasnodar Krai stand out. And Novosibirsk medical organizations provide high-quality services for the treatment of eye diseases and operations on the brain and spine.
Despite the fact that medical tourism in Russia is at the stage of development, in the next decade this direction has all the necessary prerequisites for joining the five most popular countries for health and medical tourism, while Russia is on the 34th place in terms of development of this industry. Thus, in 2017, the average cost of one patient's stay in the hospital amounted to 61 thousand rubles.from the provision of services in the hospital, Russia received 74% of the total income from the export of medical services. Russian travel companies, aware of the prospects in this industry, are actively involved in the development and development of medical tourism. The vast territory of Russia, with many medical resorts and areas, provides many opportunities for recreation and treatment not only of its citizens, but also guests from abroad. But it is important that the development of the industry included not only the tourism business, but also medical. The most popular and profitable areas for Europeans, including ophthalmology and traumatology, need to be adapted to work with foreign patients. It is important that medical professionals speak English, but so far only 12% of doctors speak a foreign language, which greatly limits their ability to treat patients from other countries.
A negative factor hindering the development of medical and health tourism in Russia is the deterioration of the material and technical base and facilities of the health resort infrastructure. About 18% of the state sanatorium organizations have wear in excess of 80%. In this regard, I consider it necessary to develop programs for renovation and renovation of facilities. Also for health resorts it is necessary to introduce a separate system of categories, similar to hotel "stars", to form a packaged tourist product. In this situation, it is important to engage and attract foreign capital in the development of the medical tourism industry in our country. Interest among foreign investors is quite high, which confirms the annual growth of global investment in this industry, which is about 30%. According to the forecast of the world health organization, by 2022 health tourism will become one of the world's defining industries. Experience in implementation of projects in the therapeutic area on the territory of our country already have, to date, successfully carried out the construction of three resorts in the Krasnodar, Stavropol, Orenburg region. In addition, a list of promising investment projects has been drawn up: 4 of them in the Caucasus, 1 in Buryatia and 56 other tourism projects in various regions of our country. The national tourism Union supports the need for private investment in the health resort sector and medical tourism, and is ready to provide active assistance to investors interested in investing in the medical tourism industry, and representatives of the health resort sector, in the implementation of joint projects.