With an ageing population tourism trends are bound to change. One of the changes in recent times has been the increase in Medical Tourism around the world. South Africa is being touted as one of the top Medical Tourism Destinations in the world. However, considering the situation with lack of funding in the South African state health system can this really be true?
One of the biggest audiences for Medical Tourism is America. Currently, South Africa is not rated highly as the preferred destination for medical treatment and medical tourism. With Canada, UK, Israel and Singapore taking the top slots of medical tourism destinations for Americans, South Africa sits at a lowly 27, shortly after China and Brazil. However, this does not make the country a poor medical tourism destination.
Medical Tourism is a growing sector in the tourism industry and one that South Africa has the capacity to capitalise on. The sector or worth around $30 million and this number continues to rise. It is estimated that by the end of next year (2020), over 10 million medical tourists will have “visited” Asia counting for about 80% of the global market.
South Africa has a very low-key medical tourism industry, but it is one that is expected to grow. One of the drivers behind medical tourism is the cost of treatment. The South African Rand has a very favourable exchange rate with the major currencies and with relatively low-cost treatments, in comparison to many developed countries, the exchange rate and affordability come together perfectly.
Over and above the financial reasons, there are a number of other factors that make South Africa a very desirable Medical Tourism Destination.
Private Medical care and treatment in South Africa are considered among the best in the world. With some of the best trained and most experienced doctors, surgeons, specialists and nurses, a patient is in exceptional hands. One only needs to recall that the world’s very first heart transplant that was undertaken in South Africa.
The hospitals and clinics in South Africa are of an exceptionally high standard. Many hospitals and clinics can give a five-star hotel a run for their money.
English is the predominant language in South Africa, especially in Cape Town and this makes communication easy.
The geographical location of South Africa is perfect for UK and European patients or guests who will not have jet lag as a further condition to deal with on arrival.
Part of the recovery can include some of the finest and most amazing tourist excursions on the planet including stays as spas, safaris or simply soaking up the sun on the beach.
Overall, South Africa is very hard to beat as a Medical Tourism destination. Great doctors and first-class treatments while recovering in luxury that does not cost a fortune is the perfect recipe for most.
The oceans around Cape Town are heavily polluted with a variety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals that are now being found in the flesh of fish being caught. Fish found in waters off Kalk Bay have been found to contain everything from antibiotics and pain killers to cleaning chemicals and other toxic substances with at least 15 different chemical compounds being found in alarming numbers.
It is always good news to hear about declining levels of poaching of any kind. For decades the Niassa Reserve in Mozambique was one of the top spots for illegal elephant ivory poaching. We are elated to report the good news that this once “ivory factory” has not seen a single elephant killed since 2018.
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