What is Medical Tourism?

Medical Tourism is best described as patients travelling to other countries to seek expert treatment, procedures and services.

South Africa is a sought-after destination for medical tourism, having excellent doctors, incredible tourist attractions and attractive exchange rates.


Medical Tourism Categories and Drivers

There are several categories that drive this niche tourism sector.

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Dental care
  • Infertility clinics
  • Medical treatments
  • Rehabilitation centres
  • Surgical procedures

Cosmetic surgery is the leader in this industry, representing 38% of demand. As cosmetic surgery is normally not covered by most of the medical aid plans, it appeals to foreign patients. They can reduce costs by travelling to countries that perform the procedures at an affordable rate while planning extra time for leisure activities.


Most common procedures

The most common procedures performed or treatment received by medical patients visiting South Africa are:

  • Cancer (often high-acuity or last resort)
  • Cardiovascular (angioplasty, CABG, transplants)
  • Comprehensive Refractive Ophthalmic surgery
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Dentistry (general, restorative, cosmetic)
  • Orthopaedics (joint and spine; sports medicine)
  • Reproductive (fertility, IVF, women’s health)
  • Scans, tests, health screenings and second opinions.
  • Weight loss (LAP-BAND, gastric bypass)


The basics of Medical Tourism

Who are the role players in this tourism sector?

  1. Accreditation for Providers
  2. Dentists
  3. Doctors
  4. Hospitals
  5. Medical Tourism Providers
  6. Surgeons
  7. The Patient

At Medical Tourism SA, their goal is

 “To enable people from all over the world to take advantage of the outstanding medical care available in South Africa at highly affordable prices. Through their comprehensive medical tourism services, they strive to make every aspect of a medical trip to South Africa as comfortable, safe and rewarding as possible.”


Wellness Tourism is also growing

  • The main goal of wellness tourism is:
    To preserve or improve the mind, body and spirit.
  • 74% more important in the future
  • 86% believe they have the power to change their own level of wellness
  • 57% wish they had more say in leading a healthy life.
  • That number skyrockets to 88% in China and is higher for 45+-year-olds (61%) than 55+ (44%)
  • 66% believe doctors should focus more on prevention

The favourite Wellness Tourism Service includes:
• Beauty treatments

  • Sport & fitness services
  • Leisure and recreational spas
  • Spa & wellness resorts

“Wellness tourism is projected to grow on average 9.9 percent annually over the next five years, nearly twice the rate of global tourism overall.”


Cooperation Opportunities

Development and cooperation opportunities in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town are emerging in terms of

  • Sharing promotion costs with partners
  • Promoting the Northern Suburbs as the top destination in Cape Town for Medical Tourism


The Industry is young and data is scant

We need to know more!

Join the conversation on Medical Tourism and let us work together to grow this industry and ensure we offer the best possible service to this unique market.

The Northern Suburbs boast the top Cosmetic Surgery, Cardiology, Oncology, Ophthalmology and Dental Care Facilities in the Western Cape and even South Africa.

Did you know that accommodation establishments within the Cape Town Northern Suburbs are all perfectly positioned to receive those Medical Tourism guests.

Visit www.capetownadvisor.co.za for a list and map of all our accommodation establishments.

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