“Our market has always been what I call the ‘working poor’ and they just keep getting poorer,” mentioned Josef Woodman, the chief govt of Patients Beyond Borders. “The pandemic has gutted low-income and middle-class people around the world and for many of them the reality is that they have to travel to access affordable health care.”
In April, following the preliminary world lockdown to curb the unfold of the coronavirus, medical journey bookings have been down by greater than 89 p.c in the most well-liked locations, together with Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and South Korea, in keeping with Medical Departures, a Bangkok-based medical journey company. Since August, the numbers have slowly been rebounding, however bookings in Mexico, which has seen an uptick in American vacationers in latest months, are nonetheless down by 32 p.c in comparison with the identical interval of August to December in 2019.
“Covid-19 has devastated the whole medical tourism ecosystem because of all the uncertainty over travel restrictions and quarantine measures that keep changing across the world,” mentioned Paul McTaggart, the founding father of the company.
“Despite this, we are still seeing a growing number of people traveling and booking trips to address their urgent health needs, especially between the U.S. and Mexico border where patients can travel safely by car,” Mr. McTaggart mentioned. The Center for Medical Tourism Research discovered that Google searches in the United States for the phrases “Mexico medical tourism” went up by 64 p.c since July, in comparison with pre-pandemic ranges earlier than journey restrictions have been imposed in March.
“Google searches are almost directly correlated with consumer behavior when it comes to travel across borders,” Mr. Vequist mentioned.
Before the winter resurgence of the coronavirus, Ms. Jackson had began to plan and save for a journey to Mexicali, a border metropolis in northern Mexico, the place she will be able to get a hysterectomy for $four,000, one-fifth the price of the process supplied in New Jersey. Her finest good friend had supplied to drive her there and pay for the gasoline and lodging.