A look at how COVID-19 impacts health tourism
Covid-19, the new pandemic that first erupted in December 2019 in China and has spread rapidly across the world through human-to-human transmission has created conditions that impact the lives of all countries and people across the globe, forcing political, economic, and socio-behavioral changes in societies. The Covid-19 pandemic started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and in other countries in February 2020. It has various effects and countries around the world are looking for a sustainable development approach to mitigate its negative impact. The after-effects of the chaos created by the pandemic have not only created long-term health issues in those affected by the infection but also weakened the economy of every country, all the sectors, and the travel and tourism industry is one among the most affected.
THE NEW NORMAL
The Covid-19 pandemic has made people conscious of hygiene and safety. People are concerned about their safety in public transport, hotels, and recreational sites. To reduce the symptom of the people of Covid-19, we have face masks and sanitizers added to our daily lives. The covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the travel decision of tourists. The tourists generally seek destinations’ safety, cleanliness, established infrastructure, and high-quality medical facilities especially in the case of medical tourism during the Covid-19 pandemic. . It implies that hygiene and well-being can be a significant factor for travel.
Intimate and inclusive tourism packages, safety, and security when traveling are highly preferred by tourists. They want to avoid the risk and overcrowded places have become a big no considering the highly contagious situation and they may decide not to visit destinations if their preferences are not met.
HEALTH TOURISM AND ECONOMY
Medical tourism is a growing economic venture due to its ability to offer sophisticated treatments and facilities similar to the top-notch institutions of high-income countries within your budget. The countries whose major source of employment and income was health tourism are facing a severe misfortune due to the pandemic. Covid-19 has wrecked the health, wealth, and lives of people and driven the world to one of the greatest economic chaos and uncertainties of all time. With countries closing their borders and restricting travel via any means, the damage be it economic, employment, or social is evident in an industry that is purely based on movement and social interactions of people.
The World Economic Outlook had forecasted that world annual economic growth in 2020 has had a major fall which was worse than the decline of the Great Financial Crisis, and warned of a global recession approaching a Great Depression. But in the present scenario, there is a glimmer of hope and opportunity.
The covid-19 pandemic has already brought severe concerns to the world tourism industry. The effect of the pandemic on the tourism destination, tourists’ and their preferences is irrespective of nationality. The world is aware now of the Covid-19 pandemic and its social, health, and financial repercussions. Although China, the United States, Russia, and other developed countries have produced vaccines and started vaccination, most developing countries are struggling to get the vaccine for protection against the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic. There is a lack of healthcare safety and security in many countries regarding handling Covid-19 patients, and a lack of doctors, vaccines, and testing facilities. Covid-19 is a global phenomenon and has become an established external factor in our daily lives affecting the performance of emerging tourism marketing.
The lockdowns imposed by the governments around the world in order to control the spread of the pandemic have been at the largest scale in human history. The consequences of the pandemic and lockdown are that it has changed many aspects of human life and the health tourism industry as people adapted to the restrictions on movement.
Covid-19 has hit the whole world in an unimaginable way that even the US and UK which are ranked by Global Health Security Index as the most prepared for pandemic had a catastrophic experience. And still some countries have strict travel bans, closed borders, and postponed their airlines to control the spread of the pandemic. The United Nations World Tourism Organization reported that there is a global crisis in the tourism industry and Covid-19 is responsible for a decline in international tourist arrivals that estimate the losses of US$300–450 billion. This is surprisingly more terrible than the effect of SARS in 2003. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many countries and the global tourism industry faces terrible situations in which business has been closed, lives have been lost, and people are on high alert for social safety. The fact that Health tourism cannot withstand the pandemic like any other industry is a huge downside itself. One major challenge to medical tourism in the near future is travel by senior citizens or other vulnerable individuals for whom travel restrictions may be even tougher. The arrival of new variants of the virus again is a concern that spreads disastrously and if the tourist destination is vulnerable to it, the tourists might call off their plan. In such conditions, conscious and alternative strategies have to be implemented.
For medical tourism in the post-pandemic world, patients will find great concern for attentiveness to their well-being, in this vulnerable situation and safe environment along with their preferred destination, and the coming years shall mark the onset of the new normal for medical tourism in both the demand and supply countries. Medical traveling is going to be more demanding as the tourists need more reassurance, would have personal recommendations and need information on risks to health and safety.
Many countries of the world started to recover from the crisis faced by tourism. Tourists’ travel arrangements should be organized to minimize the risk and stress of tourists. For instance, tourists should purchase insurance when they booked trips to destinations, and information related to vaccination in their visas, travel, accommodation, etc should be planned and executed well. The scope of online consultation with doctors around the world can also be utilized by companies involved in health tourism to market and uplift your services.
THE BLUEDOT PROMISE
Bluedot has set higher-than-industry standards and has become the leading medical assistance provider for government, companies, and individuals. We take care of the uncertainties if any and make your travel during the pandemic stress-free. Everything from choosing the right hospital with strict COVID protocols to arranging your travel and accommodation without any difficulty will be taken care of by our team. And not just that once you’re back after the treatment we offer follow-up care where you can discuss your recovery details with your doctor.
We help you make your journey towards good health a lot easier.
It is crucial to investigate what innovative methods can be incorporated and how the tourism industry can overcome the misfortune caused by Covid.