Medical repatriation flights and Emergency Aeromedical Evacuation (MedEvac) transportation are often lifesaving and necessary means in Southeast Asia.
We look at the increasing demand for air charter service by medical travellers and how YUGO can assist you in medical emergencies and for medical checkups.
Medical Tourism in Southeast Asia
Private air charter companies provide non-emergency medical flights and emergency medical evacuations domestically and internationally.
It’s not only HNWI who seek these services, often insurance packages that include medical provisions in emergencies will charter private helicopters and aircraft to airlift patients or passengers to specialist facilities, providing aeromedicine in-flight.
There is also a perception that some sectors of the ASEAN healthcare system and healthcare in Southeast Asia generally could be improved, but some countries such as Thailand and Singapore have a strong reputation for medical tourism, attracting customers globally.
Medical-related flight bookings in some cases will also require an air ambulance, and data suggests more and more medical tourists are booking private jets.
How has COVID Impacted Medical Tourism in Southeast Asia?
Private healthcare in several Asian countries is in high demand, but the financial costs can also be high for great-quality healthcare. In some SEA nations, the public healthcare systems are underdeveloped or lack specialists in certain medical fields.
Reports suggest the Medical Tourism market is still expected to register a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 12.3% over the forecast period 2021-2023, and could even reach 21.1% by 2027 according to Grand View Research, Inc. in spite of the global pandemic. This would represent a market value of USD $207.9 billion!
Private healthcare providers do offer comprehensive packages that include services ranging from ticket bookings to hotel stays, healthcare insurance, as well as private flights.
Southeast Asian nations are also pivoting their tourism targets as the delays in mass tourism continue to be delayed with the variants of COVID causing spikes in positive cases and multiple waves of lockdowns.
Who are the Medical Tourism Leaders in Southeast Asia?
Globally the medical tourism market has reduced by 48% since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold at the start of 2020, costing the industry approximately USD $19.8 billion last year.
According to Doctors Without Borders, Thailand and Malaysia, were among the world's top five countries in terms of patient numbers in 2019 before the pandemic took hold.
Leading hospital operators in Southeast Asia suffered financially due to the coronavirus travel restrictions which directly impacted medical tourism reported the Nikkei Asia
- Thailand has been a popular destination for medical tourism but the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, which operates nearly 50 hospitals, recorded a 54% drop in net profit and a 22% decrease in revenue in 2020.
- In Malaysia, IHH Healthcare had a 48% drop in net profit on a 10% decrease in revenue from the 80 hospitals it operates in 10 countries, including Malaysia and Singapore.
- Indonesian hospitals have actually benefited, as a number of patients who would usually travel abroad to Singapore for example, have made use of the domestic medical services. Annually as many as 1.2 million Indonesians travel to neighbouring countries from Indonesia for health checkups and other medical services but have not been able to travel recently - spending US$2 billion and accounting for 50 per cent of medical tourists in Malaysia and Singapore.
Counties are adapting though. Thailand for example is looking to attract high-net-worth individuals and the estimated 200 million retirees worldwide living off their pensions or savings. The nation is also reacting as other Southeast Asian nations have been adapting (and catching up) in terms of growing appeal for medical tourism and business investments.
The World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business 2020 index, ranked Thailand 21 worldwide, while Vietnam was 70th, Indonesia 73rd and the Philippines 95th, all rising up the rankings. Singapore is ahead at 4th and Malaysia is 12th.
In Cambodia, even with widespread restrictions, senior members of the government and the Royal Family still fly abroad to China and Singapore for regular private medical checkups.
Other individuals in the region with the necessary financial means have also managed to make use of the convenience of private flights and helicopter bookings to seek medical expertise abroad during COVID.
The rise in cases in India in 2021 has seen a number of HNWI, including Indian tycoons and Bollywood stars, leave the country on private jet charters. However, even upper-middle-class families have been pooling their resources to fly out to Maldives and Dubai.
Some private charter companies saw an increase in bookings of 900% and 70% to 80% were from upper-middle-class reported CNBC.
China has seen the total number of private flights almost double in Q1 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. The domestic use of jets either chartered or flown by private jet owners have increased by 87 per cent in 2021 thus far.
The biggest reasons cited according to the Financial Times are due to the limitations on commercial airlines, “as well as concerns from executives about sharing planes with large numbers of fellow passengers.”
How Can YUGO Help You in a Medical Emergency?
With our expertise in the private jet charter industry, YUGO offers a hassle-free booking tool for medical and emergency medical evacuations flights around the globe.
We are in ongoing discussions with emergency evacuation companies throughout SEA to ensure we can react immediately and at your convenience, no matter the situation or location.
Our range of partnerships, and access to a fleet of private jets and helicopters, means we have been able to adapt to medical situations quickly.
We have successfully been involved in operating medevac services to rescue customers who have needed help while located in a difficult or remote place to access, as well as those needing medical assistance after injuring themselves on adventurous excursions. When we arrange medical-related flights, we can immediately dispatch aircraft and medical crews in top priority scenarios.
We also cater for our clients who seek general medical checkups & treatments, births, etc. in preferred medical destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and other leading destinations. These medical care-related flights are not emergency dispatches, but they still require medically-oriented arrangements, which commercial flights cannot provide.
Booking with commercial flights means exposing a patient’s potentially weakened immune system and the extra inconvenience and stress and confinement of commercial airline cabins don’t help in these risky situations.
Our concierge and service agents are at hand to help facilitate the process and provide ample support to ensure a smooth process despite what may be a difficult or stressful situation.
This type of travel is more complicated under the COVID-19 restrictions, depending on the case. Issues such as visa challenges or patients who test positive for COVID might not be able to fly due to the regulations in place in each country.
YUGO will be able to evaluate and assess these with you and provide as much flexibility as possible, while also providing all the necessary professional personnel (in-flight nurses and doctors) and equipment (oxygen, stretchers, medical supplies etc).
We will take care of all of the ground handling services, baggage, check-in, customs and immigration procedures despite the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ensure your peace of mind and contact us to find out about our range of unique network benefits and how to access a global fleet instantly.