Germany sees drop in medical tourism from the Gulf

A drop in demand from Gulf States has caused a decline in medical tourism in Germany, according to new research from The Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.

In 2017, around 247,500 patients from 177 countries were hospitalised or required ambulatory care netting the country around €1.2 billion (US$1.4 billion).

The numbers are down around 2% on the previous year thanks to what the university calls a “massive collapse” of patients from the Gulf as the states rethink the hundreds of million of Euros they provide for treatment abroad every year.

Across Germany, the number of patients from Kuwait is down 62%, from Saudi Arabia has declined 36%, and from Oman is off by 28%.

Particularly affected are the states of Berlin and Baden-Württemberg which have seen a 14% and 9% decline in medical tourism spending respectively. In those two federal states medical tourists from the Gulf are down 79% and 70%.

The outlook for the future there is not especially rosy either. The university’s research highlight’s falling confidence from the region. “Despite the claims of many hospital directors, international business does not run itself,” said Jens Juszczak at the university. “Specially trained staff, good contacts in target countries and regular monitoring of all activities are important prerequisites for success in medical tourism.”

The one bright spot in Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences’s research is that there has been an uptick in patients from the former USSR with Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan leading the way.