Australia has always been a popular tourist destination due to its unique natural beauty, but now Australia is taking steps to establish itself as a medical tourism destination.
Despite having some of the world’s best medical facilities, Australia’s market share in global medical tourism has been relatively small. This is due to a number of factors, including the distance and cost of travel, high surgery fees, and a lack of marketing and government investment in medical tourism resources.
Recently however there has been a push for Australia to develop and promote its medical tourism industry for specialised treatments such as cosmetic, hip and knee replacement, cancer, surrogacy and fertility treatment.
Australia has the competitive advantage of providing high quality pre and post-surgery treatment, with the potential to attract tourists with a social and medical agenda from around the globe.
Matthew Hingerty, CEO and Managing Director, Barton Deakin – a national registered professional lobbying group – strongly believes in Australia’s potential as a medical tourism destination, and will be speaking at the upcoming Medical Tourism Summit taking place on 20th and 21st November in Melbourne on the topic ‘The difficulties of trying to develop a medical tourism market for Australia’.
Matthew believes that medical tourism is “a critical sector given the demographic ageing of some of our key markets and the overall rising age profile of visitors to Australia”. It could be the next leap forward in the history of the Australian export tourism industry.
However, he argues that “a combination of a lack of private sector cohesion and government inertia” is the biggest challenge facing the industry today.
“It is a classic combination of market failure, which the history of visitation to Australia shows can be overcome with just a small of effort and investment,” he says.
Matthew plans to emphasise to the “tourism” side of the discussion, as well as discuss his and others’ efforts to raise awareness of and develop a medical tourism industry.
Joining Matthew on Day Two of the conference is Mark Fitzgibbon, CEO of NIB Health Funds. Matthew highly applauds NIB’s innovative approach to the industry, adding, “if a company as prestigious as NIB sees a future in this sector, it really demonstrates to governments that it’s time to pay attention.”