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Today we learned that there are such things as dialysis cruises, and that they're part of a burdgeoning medical tourism industry that apparently "is increasingly recognized as an opportunity for the travel industry." We remember when tourists used to go abroad to faraway lands where they could view amazing monuments unthought of in their little parts of the planet. Now they go from Germany to Hungary to get their teeth worked on.
The Reuters article providing this insight also noted that a recent survey found that as many as 52% of Europeans could imagine themselves being medical tourists. That photo at the top of this page? It comes from the Flickr stream of Panama's tourism board, and it's there to promote the country as a medical tourism destination. Among its tags are "medical tourism," "Panama surgery," and "Panama cosmetic surgery." No but really, humanity's on the right path.
Charity Travel / James Bond Travel / Orbis / DC-10 / Airplanes / Medical Tourism / Travel Health / Daniel Craig / Celeb Travel / → All Tags
What's the oldest flying DC-10 airplane up to these days? The answer: it's the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, completely reconfigured (see below) to be a learning center for opthamologists in the developing world and a temporary medical center for those in need, wherever Orbis flies. Even the guys in the cockpit are volunteer pilots.
What's Daniel Craig (aka the newest James Bond) name as his charity of choice? The answer: you guessed itthe Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.
The two have been working for a couple years now, raising the funds necessary for the DC-10 to get its jetfuel and get across the clouds to places like Ulanbaatar, Mongolia, where Craig came together with the crew to shoot an informative and touching mini-documentary (embedded below).
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Japan's obviously been trying to brainstorm ways to drum up more tourists. Plan A, the "Welcome to Japan bra" that greets tourists in three languages, must not be working, because it's resorting to plan B: making Osaka a medical tourism center.
The country adopted a new growth strategy in June that includes promoting medical tourism. The Raffles Medical Group of Singapore, which will set up shop in Osaka, just might be the botox shot the city needed to become a top medical tourism destination.
India has been known as a place to go for overseas fertility treatments, but it looks like Spain is emerging as the center for fertility tourism for its excellent clinics and its policies that favor egg donors.
A high percentage of British couples, in particular, are heading to the country for help getting pregnant. The UK's up-to-two-year wait for donated eggs is frustrating many British couples, so they are opting to try their luck in Spain. Donors aren't as plentiful in the U.K. because they cannot receive payment, only about $86 a day, with a max of $388, for loss of earnings and some out-of-pocket costs, like food and travel. In Spain, donors all receive $1,142 for their services.
Riga, Latvia, wants to inject itself into the global medical tourism industry. It's promising visitors tighter skin, nicer teeth and other fountain-of-youth services in the capital of the Baltic country.
But Latvia will have to compete with more established medical tourism destinations, such as South Korea and South Africa. What the country has in its favor is price: cosmetic surgery can be 40 percent cheaper there than in Western Europe, the Times Online reported.
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With health-care reform stalling out and the recession in full swing, there are more reasons than ever for people to seek cheaper medical treatment overseas. According to a recent report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, although the U.S. economy has slowed down, the demand for cosmetic procedures is up. In 2007 an estimated 750,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care, and the number is supposed to reach 6 million this year, Deloitte reported. We take look at popular medical tourism spots.
See which countries people are traveling to for a quickie nip and tuck after the jump.
With health-care reform stalling out and the recession in full swing, there are more reasons than ever for people to seek cheaper medical treatment overseas. According to a recent report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, although the U.S. economy has slowed down, the demand for cosmetic procedures is up. In 2007 an estimated 750,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care, and the number is supposed to reach 6 million this year, Deloitte reported. This week, we'll look at popular medical tourism spots.
South Korea is one place that's really pushing its medical tourism services. It has its own government-backed Council for Korea Medicine Overseas Promotion and will turn the island of Jeju into a resort-style medical tourism center dubbed "Healthcare Town" in 2011.
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You've heard about plastic surgery travel and medical tourism, and maybe even about how sex travel morphs into pregnancy travel, but are you ready for sperm tourism? That's what we're predicting for New York with the upcoming opening of California Cryobank's "Celebrity Look-a-Like" service on Park Avenue.
Of course this began in Los Angeles, and the idea is simple: sperm donors are categorized by what celebrity they most resemble. Women looking to patronize the sperm bank's Look-A-Like program simply pick out the celebrity they'd ideally like their artificially inseminated child to resemble, pay $350 to $500 for a vial and information like facial features details, and the transaction is done.
After watching Thailand, India and Argentina grab all the headlines--and big-spenders--South Korea is now courting medical tourists looking for everything from cheap joint replacements to low-cost breast implants. Government officials are encouraging the nascent industry, too, by relaxing immigration rules and working with foreign hospitals so potential patients will decide to have procedures done in Korea instead of elsewhere in Asia.
On Jeju Island south of the mainland, for example, the Wooridul Spine Hospital is adding apartments, a concert hall and an art museum to its existing amenities, which include a golf course, says The New York Times. A government official says:
We believe this is a major future industry for our island. The town will specialize in medical checkups, long-term convalescence and procedures Korean doctors do well and cheaply, such as plastic surgery and dentistry.
After reading a first-hand account of one of these swanky Asian destination hospitals, we're actually considering going to have a bit of dental work done ourselves. After all, if you're gonna suffer for your pearly whites, might as well get an international vacation starring UNESCO-recognized lava tubes thrown in for your trouble, right?
· South Korea Joins Lucrative Practice of Inviting Medical Tourists [NYT]
· Wooridul Spine Hospital [Official Site]
· Jeju Island to Have Foreigners-Only Medical Centers [Korea.net]
· Plastic Surgery Travel: Thailand [Jaunted]
[Photo of Jeju Island: karendotcom127]
For those unlucky souls who have trouble producing children, India is welcoming them and offering fertility treatment such as IVF cycles for a fraction of the price in countries like the United States or Britain.
There are two bonuses here: One, the laws connected to fertility treatments are a lot more lax so you can get pretty much get anything you need; and two, you get an interesting Indian holiday thrown in with your baby-creating experience.
Geopolitics junkie and Knife Tricks blogger Paul Karl Lukacs had a bit of an oral revelation the other day, and since it's 2008, he blogged about it. Problem? Infected wisdom tooth. Solution? Surgery at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand.
We know that medical tourism is a growing field: After all, we've contemplated a trip to Hungary to get our teeth fixed or a stay in the Netherlands to cure our nail-biting habit. But our next booking is taking us to Buenos Aires, and here's why.
We've just discovered that Argentina's capital is the "psychoanalysis capital of the world," and a two-hour therapy session will set you back only around $18. They've got more qualified psychologists than anywhere and if you head to the district of Palermo, you'll discover there's a good reason why it's nicknamed "Villa Freud."
Locals suggest that it's the country's long history of instability--war, dictatorship and economic collapse are just a few of the problems--that's made them a nation full of shrinks. We're just happy to have an exotic destination lined up for our next mental breakdown.