Medical Tourism in Europe

Medical Tourism – Russian Tourist Profile


It is now known that Medical Tourism is a multi-million dollar industry that takes people from one country to another in search of medical treatment. With global air travel having become commonplace, it is not strange to hear that people are coming to hospitals in Spain, for example, for medical treatment or to wellness centres to improve their well-being.

This article is a summary of the study carried out by Yandex regarding the Russian market and Medical Tourism, taking into account that Russians spend around a thousand million dollars in medical treatment abroad. In fact, in 2013, this sum increased further (1.1 thousand million dollars) which means that Medical Tourism amounts to 58.8% of the total amount that Russians spend on health.

Russia, together with China, India and USA, is one of the countries that spends most on international tourism: beach tourism 28.3%, sight-seeing tourism (19.7%), rural tourism (13.4%) and medical tourism (16.5%), among others.

It is noteworthy that, in 2013, more than 300,000 Russians went abroad to seek medical treatment.  Furthermore, the number is expected to increase 7% in 2014 owing mainly to the following reasons:-

  • Ageing of the population and increasing prevalence of chronic diseases
  • Rising interest in disease prevention
  • Trust in the local healthcare system decreasing
  • Increased interest in alternative therapies

Why Medical Tourism?

More than 70% of people that travel from Russia in search of medical treatment or wellness do so because they cannot find the treatment they need in their own country or they feel that the quality is not up to standard. 54% of the population actually consider their healthcare system to be very poor.

In the following graphic we can observe, by sector, just what the Russian client takes into account when looking for medical treatment abroad:

Determinants for patient choice

Which are the countries most visited for Medical Tourism by Russians?

Medical Tourism Destinations

More specifically, the Russian medical tourist heads for, in order of preference, Israel, Germany, China and USA.

What type of treatment is the Russian medical tourist mainly seeking?

The majority are seeking oncology treatment (44%), fertility treatment (7.7%) and a cure forpsoriasis and hernias, amongst others.

As we can see, Spain has yet to become an established Medical Tourism destination for the Russian market.


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