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What is health tourism and why is it growing?

Health tourism is a growing trend around the world. But what is health tourism and why is it so popular? Read on to find out…

What is health tourism?

The growth of health tourism, why is health tourism important, health tourism activities, health tourism- further reading.

Health tourism is a tricky one to define. It is more of an umbrella term, encompassing both wellness tourism and medical tourism. These two types of tourism may seem quite different, but they both fundamentally have health at their core. So, health tourism can be defined as follows:

Health tourism covers those types of tourism which have as a primary motivation, the contribution to physical, mental and/or spiritual health through medical and wellness-based activities which increase the capacity of individuals to satisfy their own needs and function better as individuals in their environment and society.

This definition comes from an executive summary published by the World Tourism Organization and the European Travel Commission in 2018. As you can see, the exploration of health tourism in itself is a relatively new idea. The two organisations also provided the following definitions of wellness and medical tourism respectively:

Wellness tourism is a type of tourism activity which aims to improve and balance all of the main domains of human life including physical, mental, emotional, occupational, intellectual and spiritual. The primary motivation for the wellness tourist is to engage in preventive, proactive, lifestyle enhancing activities such as fitness, healthy eating, relaxation, pampering and healing treatments.       

Medical tourism is a type of tourism activity which involves the use of evidence-based medical healing resources and services (both invasive and non-invasive). This may include diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention and rehabilitation.   

What is wellness tourism?

There are many reasons as to why health tourism as an industry is growing. People are keener than ever to put their health and wellbeing first – especially now we are 2 years into a global pandemic. As a population , we are more aware now than ever before how our health can hang in the balance. And just knowing this, coupled with all of the other changes brought about by the pandemic as well as the general ease of accessing information, mean that life is generally more stressful. So it is no wonder that we are looking for wellness trips to calm and soothe ourselves – and to affordable and accessible medical procedures that may be unavailable at home…

The UK sees health tourism as a distinct and negative phenomenon. The media uses the term to refer to people who travel to the UK deliberately in order to access free medical treatment from the National Health Service. This is seen as leeching off the state, and as you can imagine is particularly frowned upon by many in the country. However, reports show that the government estimates ‘health tourism’ costs the NHS only £300m annually – or 0.3% of their budget! But due to this, new laws are in place to charge people who do not ‘ordinarily reside’ in the UK if they use the NHS.

Health tourism is important for many reasons. Looking at it from an economical point of view, it provides a boost to local economies when people travel to a destination for any reason. So heading to a summer yoga retreat in Santorini or getting some dental work done in Turkey is contributing to the local economy. And it’s not just the cost of your treatment or stay – you will also purchase food and drink, maybe even souvenirs. You might extend your trip and do some sightseeing with local tour companies too. All of these things mean a cash injection for the area and its inhabitants.

Linked to this is that health tourism often provides a cheaper opportunity to do something you were going to do at home. Travelling for optional surgery or going to a small spa in a remote village might be much cheaper than doing so in your home country. In this way, health tourism actually provides people with a way to save money.

Health tourism is also important as it is a reflection of my earlier point – people are taking more of an interest in their health. Regardless of whether it’s wellness tourism or medical tourism, health tourists are travelling with the primary focus of improving their mind, body or life in some way. This is obviously a positive factor for society.

As health tourism combines wellness and medical tourism, the activities it involves are anything which falls under these categories. Essentially, anything you do as a tourist which is aimed at improving your health is classed as health tourism. See a list of activities below:

  • Dental/dentistry
  • Orthopedics
  • Cosmetic/plastic surgery
  • Bariatric surgery 
  • Fertility treatment
  • Eye surgery
  • Ears, nose and throat
  • Organ transplants
  • Rehabilitation
  • Alternative medication access
  • Yoga retreats
  • Writing retreats
  • Meditation centres
  • Weight loss or healthy eating retreats
  • Sensory deprivation

Popular health tourism destinations

There are many destinations you can visit as a health tourist. Your home country may also be a health tourism location for people from other countries. It is all contextual and subjective, depending on what exactly you are looking to get out of your trip…

What is health tourism?

This is a popular place for health tourism – particularly when it comes to wellness. With its geothermal pools, breathtaking scenery, infinity pools and mountain hiking areas the options are endless! A very popular part of Iceland for wellness activities is Myvatn Nature Baths, where the alkaline in the water has a lot of minerals and is incredibly beneficial for the treatment of skin conditions. Because of this, it can also be seen as a destination which works for medical purposes – making it a dead cert for health tourism.

Ever heard of the saying ‘Turkey teeth’? It doesn’t come from nowhere! The reason this term exists is because many people (particularly younger people, celebrities, and influencers) flock to Turkey to have dental treatment done for cosmetic purposes. They want straighter, whiter and brighter teeth. Something like this might cost double or triple in the UK, for example, than what it would in Turkey. Plus, visitors get to combine their trip with sun, sea and sand!

India is a big one for health tourism as it has a big wellness tourism industry combined with many options for medical tourists to have cheaper procedures done. Being such a spiritual country, it is no wonder that people come here for wellness purposes. The Indian government readily promotes the country as a hub for yoga, Sidha, naturopathy and Ayurveda – citing the ‘spiritual philosophy that has been integral to the Indian way of life’. There are retreats right across the country, particularly in countryside areas but also in the bustling cities which mean it works for both primary AND secondary wellness tourism.

Primary wellness tourism is when someone’s whole trip is focused on wellness; it is their sole reason for travel, and the major component of their trip. Every aspect of their holiday is tailored to wellness. Secondary wellness tourism is when general tourists incorporate some aspect of wellness (a massage on the beach during an all-inclusive Mexican vacation) into their holiday.

India is also a huge destination when it comes to medical tourism. Locations such as Chennai, Maharashtra and Kerala are really popular for medical procedures, with costs being about one tenth of those in either the UK or the USA. Medical tourists travel to India for alternative medicine, cardiac procedures, bone-marrow transplants, eye surgery and hip replacements in particular.

Beautiful Hawaii is like one big spa in itself. Primary wellness tourists visit here in droves to experience the therapeutic salt water, the laid back atmosphere, the glorious sunshine and the traditional practices of omilomi massage and pohaku (hot stone treatment). With scenery that will leave you lost for words, it is one of the most relaxing places in the world which is why wellness tourism is so big here – and so, by extension, is health tourism.

This stunning country has cutting edge technology and beautiful spaces to relax – making it ideal for health tourism encompassing both wellness and medical tourism. People tend to head here for small elective surgeries, choosing to get the procedure done for a lower price and recover somewhere beautiful! And there are so many options for wellness tourists, too. From Thai massage parlours to serene meditation retreats on beaches where the sunsets are bright pink and shiny gold, you couldn’t ask for somewhere more suited to a relaxing wellness trip.

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Why Patients Are Turning to Medical Tourism

Statistics, Benefits, and Risks

Planning Ahead

Frequently asked questions.

Medical tourism is a term that refers to traveling to another country to get a medical or dental procedure. In some instances, medical tourists travel abroad seeking alternative treatments that are not approved in the United States.

Medical tourism is successful for millions of people each year, and it is on the rise for a variety of reasons, including increasing healthcare costs in the United States, lack of health insurance, specialist-driven procedures, high-quality facilities, and the opportunity to travel before or after a medical procedure.

According to a New York Times article from January 2021, pent-up demand for nonessential surgeries, as well as the fact that many Americans lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic led to a surge in medical tourism once other countries re-opened.

However, there are specific risks that come with traveling overseas for surgery. If you're thinking of pursuing a medical procedure in another country, here's what to know about the benefits and the risks.

Medical Tourism Benefits

The most common procedures Americans go abroad for include dental care, cosmetic procedures , fertility treatments, organ transplants , and cancer treatment.

This is not to be confused with having an unplanned procedure in a foreign country due to an unexpected illness or injury.

Among the reasons a person might choose to go abroad for a medical procedure are:

Lower Costs

Medical tourists can save anywhere from 25% to 90% in medical bills, depending on the procedure they get and the country they travel to. There are several factors that play into this:

  • The cost of diagnostic testing and medications is particularly expensive in the United States.
  • The cost of pre- and post-procedure labor is often dramatically lower overseas. This includes labor costs for nurses , aides, surgeons , pharmacists, physical therapists , and more.
  • High cost of malpractice insurance—the insurance that protects medical professionals against lawsuits—in the United States.
  • Hospital stays cost far less in many overseas countries compared to the United States. In other words, quality care, hospital meals, and rehabilitation are far more affordable abroad for many people.

For someone who doesn't have insurance , or someone having a procedure that is not covered by insurance , the difference can be enormous.

Popular Countries for Medical Tourism

Dominican Republic

South Korea

Culture and Language

Many immigrants prefer to have treatments and procedures done in their country of origin—a sensible decision, considering just how much language barriers alone can affect the quality of their care.

Furthermore, at least 25% of immigrants and noncitizen residents in the United States are uninsured, compared to 9% of American citizens. Children with at least one noncitizen parent are also more likely to be uninsured.

Practicalities aside, many people choose to have their procedure done in their country of origin simply because it allows them to be close to family, friends, and caretakers who can assist them through their recovery .

Insurance Incentives

Some insurance companies have started promoting medical tourism. The reason behind this is simple: savings for the insured means savings for the insurance provider and vice versa.

Several insurance providers, including Aetna have programs specifically geared at promoting safe medical tourism. Some insurance providers even offer financial incentives for medical tourism, like discounts on medical bills .

That said, many insurance companies will not pay for surgery performed outside of the country unless it is an emergency.

Luxury and Privacy

Medical tourism is a lucrative business for many countries, and much of the money brought in by medical tourists is reinvested into the local economy and health infrastructure.

The effect of this is apparent in the spa-like luxury that some foreign hospitals offer, providing medical tourists the opportunity to be pampered during their stay for a fraction of the cost they would pay at home.

Some facilities offer hospital rooms that are more like a hotel suite than a traditional hospital room. Other hospitals offer one-on-one private nursing care, which is far more generous and attentive than the staffing ratios that most hospitals allow.

Medical tourists who seek that added layer of privacy can find it abroad. Many can return home from their "vacation" without anyone knowing they had a procedure at all.

Vacation in a Foreign Country

Medical tourists often take advantage of their stay in a foreign country to travel for pleasure by scheduling a vacation before or after their procedure.

This is an especially inexpensive way to travel to a foreign country, especially if their insurance provider is paying for the flight and the cost of staying is low. 

While it seems logical to recover on a beach or in a chalet by the mountains, keep in mind that it's important not to jeopardize your recovery.

Swimming isn't recommended until your incisions are completely closed. You may not feel up to doing much more than napping in the days following your procedure, either.

Don't let your vacation disrupt your recovery. Any time you have a procedure done, especially a surgery, it's important to listen to your body, take your medications as directed, and follow your doctor's recommendations closely.

Bypassing Rules and Regulations

Some travelers seek surgery abroad to bypass rules that are set in place by their own government, insurance company , or hospital. These rules are typically in place to protect the patient from harm, so getting around them isn't always the best idea.

For example, a patient may be told that their weight is too low to qualify for weight loss surgery . A surgeon in a foreign country may have a different standard for who qualifies for weight loss surgery, so the patient may qualify overseas for the procedure they want.

Talented Surgeons

Surgeons in certain countries are known for their talent in a specific area of surgery. For example, Brazilian surgeons are often touted for their strong plastic surgery skills .

Whereas in the United States, insurance companies might only cover cosmetic procedures if it is medically necessary, cosmetic surgery is often free or low-cost in Brazil's public hospitals—giving cosmetic surgeons there ample practice.

Thailand is reported to be the primary medical tourism destination for individuals seeking gender reassignment . It is often easier to qualify for surgery and the cost is significantly reduced. Surgeons are performing the procedures frequently, and as a result, many have become quite specialized in them.

It is often surprising to many medical tourists that their physician was trained in the United States. Not all physicians are, of course, but a surprisingly high percentage of them working in surgery abroad are trained in English-speaking medical schools and residency programs and then return to their home country. These physicians often speak multiple languages and may be board certified in their home country and a foreign country, such as the United States.

Medical tourism isn’t limited to countries outside of the United States, either. Many people travel to the United States for medical care due to the country's cutting-edge technology, prescription medication supply, and the general safety of healthcare.

Medical Tourism Risks

The financial and practical benefits of medical tourism are well known, and you may even know someone who had a great experience. Nonetheless, the downsides of medical tourism can be just as great if not greater. Sometimes, they can even be deadly.

If you are considering a trip abroad for your procedure, you should know that medical tourism isn't entirely without obstacle and risks. These include:

Poorly Trained Surgeons

In any country—the United States included—there will be good surgeons and bad. And just as there are great surgeons abroad, there are also some surgeons who are less talented, less trained, and less experienced.

Regardless of what procedure you are getting or where, you should always do some preliminary research into the surgeon or physician who will be treating you as well as the hospital you will be treated at.

In the United States, it is fairly easy to obtain information about malpractice lawsuits , sanctions by medical boards, and other disciplinary actions against a physician.

Performing this research from afar can be challenging, especially if you don't speak the local language. Yet countless people take the risk anyway, without knowing whether the physicians who will treat them are reputable.

A physician should be trained in the specific area of medicine that is appropriate for your procedure. For example, you should not be having plastic surgery from a surgeon who was trained to be a heart doctor. It isn’t good enough to be a physician, the physician must be trained in the specialty .

Prior to agreeing to surgery, you should also know your surgeon’s credentials : where they studied, where they trained, and in what specialty(s) they are board-certified. Do not rely on testimonials from previous patients; these are easily made up for a website and even if they are correct, one good surgery doesn’t mean they will all be successful.

Quality of Staff

Nurses are a very important part of healthcare, and the care they provide can mean the difference between a great outcome and a terrible one.

A well-trained nurse can identify a potential problem and fix it before it truly becomes an issue. A poorly trained nurse may not identify a problem until it is too late. The quality of the nursing staff will have a direct impact on your care.

Once again, it's important to research the hospital staff where you will be having your procedure done. Read the reviews but don't trust them blindly. If you can, seek out a recommendation from someone who can vouch for the medical staff where you will be going.

Quality of the Facility

While researching healthcare facilities for your procedure, you want to learn not just about the quality of the facilities themselves, but about the country's healthcare system as a whole.

In some countries, there is a marked distinction between public hospitals and private hospitals. In Turkey, for example, private hospitals are considered on-par with hospitals in the states, while many locals will advise you to steer clear of public hospitals if you can.

You will also want to seek out facilities that are internationally accredited. In the United States, the Joint Commission evaluates hospitals and certifies those that provide safe, quality care. The international division does the same for hospitals outside the United States.

Once you have a few options for potential facilities, you can start to investigate specifics. For one, you should find as many pictures and reviews of the facility as you can. Ask yourself whether the facility is state of the art or whether it seems dirty and outdated.

You will also need to find out if the facility has ICU level care available, in case something goes wrong. If not, there should be a major hospital nearby so that you can be transferred quickly.

To learn more about a healthcare facility, consider joining expat groups on social media for the city or country you will be traveling to. Ask the group for recommendations, or inquire about any positive or negative experiences they may have had at a particular facility.

Flying Home After Surgery

Any surgery comes with risks, including infection and blood clots . Flying home increases the risk of blood clots, especially on long-haul flights that are longer than four hours.

Try to avoid flying home in the days immediately after surgery; waiting a week will decrease the chances of developing a blood clot or another serious complication during the flight.

For longer flights, plan on getting up and walking up and down the aisles each hour to improve blood flow in your legs. You might also benefit from wearing compression socks with your doctor's approval.

If you are taking blood thinners or are at-risk of blood clots , be sure to talk to your doctor about how you can reduce your risk of blood clots after your procedure and while traveling.

Furthermore, you should know the symptoms of blood clots and stay alert.

Unplanned Illness

Any time you travel abroad, you run the risk of catching an illness that you have never been exposed to or that your body is not prepared to fight off. This is especially a concern when spending time in a foreign hospital.

If you have a sensitive stomach, you may also want to think long and hard about having surgery abroad. The food is often very different in foreign hospitals, and in some areas, there is a risk that even the water will be upsetting to your body.

Having diarrhea or postoperative nausea and vomiting makes for a miserable recovery experience, especially if you do not have a friend or family member nearby who can help you through it.

Before you travel abroad, check with your doctor to see if you need any vaccines to travel to your destination or if there are any foreign illnesses you should be aware of. Picking up an illness abroad, particularly after your surgery, can potentially be life-threatening.

Language Barriers

If you are having surgery in a country where English is not the primary language, you will need to make preparations in order to be able to communicate with the staff.

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the staff speaks your primary language well. If not, then you will need to consider how you will make your wishes and needs known to the surgeon, the staff, and others you will meet.

Whether you are at home or abroad, remember to speak up and advocate for yourself to make sure your needs are met. If you don't speak the local language, download a language translation app on your smartphone and don't hesitate to use it to communicate your needs. Hiring a translator is another option.

A Word About Transplant Tourism

Transplant tourism is one area of medical tourism that is strongly discouraged by organ and tissue transplant professionals in multiple countries. Most international transplants are considered “black market” surgeries that are not only poor in quality, but ethically and morally wrong.

China, for example, the country that is believed to perform more international kidney transplants than any other country, is widely believed to take organs from political prisoners after their execution.

In India, living donors are often promised large sums of money for their kidney donation, only to find out they have been scammed and never receive payment. Selling an organ in India is illegal, as it is in most areas of the world, so there is little recourse for the donor.

Then there is the final outcome: how well the organ works after the surgery is complete. With black market transplants, less care is often taken with matching the donor and recipient, which leads to high levels of rejection and a greater risk of death. Furthermore, the new organ may not have been screened for diseases such as cytomegalovirus , tuberculosis , hepatitis B , and hepatitis C . It is often the new disease that leads to death, rather than the organ rejection itself.

Finally, transplant surgeons are often reluctant to care for a patient who intentionally circumvented the donor process in the United States and received their transplant from an unknown physician.

It is important to arrange your follow-up care prior to leaving your home country.

Many physicians and surgeons are hesitant to take care of a patient who received care outside the country, as they are often unfamiliar with medical tourism and have concerns about the quality of care overseas.

Arranging for follow-up care before you leave will make it easier to transition to care at home without the stress of trying to find a physician after surgery .

Just be sure to inform your follow-up care physician where you are having your procedure done. After you return, they will also want to know what prescription medications you were given, if any.

What are popular countries for medical tourism? 

Mexico, India, Costa Rica, Turkey, Singapore, Canada, and Thailand are among the many countries that are popular for medical tourism.

How safe is medical tourism?

Medical tourism is generally considered safe, but it's critical to research the quality of care, physician training, and surgical specialties of each country. There are several medical tourism organizations that specialize in evaluating popular destinations for this purpose.

What countries have free healthcare? 

Countries with free healthcare include England, Canada, Thailand, Mexico, India, Sweden, South Korea, Israel, and many others.

A Word From Verywell

If you are considering medical tourism, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor, and consider working with your insurance provider to arrange a trip that balances financial savings with safety. (Also, before you embark on a trip overseas for your procedure, make sure you are financially prepared for unexpected events and emergencies. Don't go abroad if you don't have enough money to get yourself home in a crisis.)

A medical tourism organization such as Patients Without Borders can help you evaluate the quality and trustworthiness of healthcare in various countries. Making sure a high level of care is readily available will lead to a safer, more relaxing experience.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Medical Tourism: Getting medical care in another country . Updated October 23, 2017.

University of the Incarnate Word. Center for Medical Tourism Research .

Patients Beyond Borders. Facts and figures .

Kaiser Family Foundation. Health coverage of immigrants . Published July 2021.

Paul DP 3rd, Barker T, Watts AL, Messinger A, Coustasse A. Insurance companies adapting to trends by adopting medical tourism . Health Care Manag (Frederick). 2017 Oct/Dec;36(4):326-333. doi: 10.1097/HCM.0000000000000179

Batista BN. State of plastic surgery in Brazil .  Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open . 2017 Dec;5(12):1627. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000001627

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health - Global Health Now. Brazilians' risky right to beauty . Published May 2018.

Chokrungvaranont P, Selvaggi G, Jindarak S, et al. The development of sex reassignment surgery in Thailand: a social perspective .  Sci World J . 2014 Mar;2014(1):1-5. doi:10.1155/2014/182981

The Joint Commission. For consumers .

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood clots and travel: what you need to know . Reviewed February 2021.

Hurley R. China harvested organs from political prisoners on substantial scale, says tribunal . BMJ . 2018 Dec;363(1):5250. doi:10.1136/bmj.k5250

Ambagtsheer F, Van Balen L. I'm not Sherlock Holmes: suspicions, secrecy, and silence of transplant professionals in the human organ trade . Euro J Criminol . 2019 Jan;17(6):764-783. doi:10.1177/1477370818825331

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transplant Surgery. Key facts . Reviewed January 2019.

By Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in primary care and hospital medicine.

Health Tourism: Exploring the Industry, Types, and Top Destinations

April 23, 2023.

Health tourism, also referred to as medical tourism or wellness tourism, is a rapidly growing sector within the global tourism industry. It encompasses a diverse range of activities and services, all aimed at improving or maintaining an individual's health and well-being. This article presents an overview of the health tourism industry, discusses different types of health tourism, examines the top 100 destinations, and provides insights into the number of travelers engaging in health tourism. ‍

Definition of Health Tourism

Health tourism is broadly defined as the practice of individuals traveling outside their country of residence to seek medical treatments, procedures, or wellness experiences. The motivations behind such travel may vary but often include factors such as cost savings, access to specialized treatments, shorter waiting times, or the opportunity to combine medical procedures with leisure travel. ‍

Types of Health Tourism

  • Medical Tourism: This category of health tourism focuses on individuals that travel for medical treatments and procedures abroad. Common medical treatments sought by medical tourists include elective surgeries, dental treatments, fertility treatments, and cosmetic procedures. Often, providers offer medical tourism packages that include treatment costs, physician fees, ground transportation and, in some cases, hotel accommodation.
  • Wellness Tourism: Wellness tourism, on the other hand, emphasizes the pursuit of well-being through activities and experiences that promote physical, mental, and spiritual health. Examples include spa treatments, yoga retreats, and mindfulness workshops.
  • Preventative Healthcare Tourism: This type of health tourism revolves around the concept of proactive health management. Travelers in this category may seek routine medical check-ups, diagnostic tests, or alternative medical treatments to prevent potential health issues.

Top Destinations for Health Tourism

While it is beyond the scope of this article to provide an exhaustive list of the top health and medical tourism destinations; some notable countries and regions have emerged as leaders in this industry, particularly for combining medical and wellness services. These include:

  • Thailand: Renowned for its state-of-the-art medical facilities and cost-effective treatments, Thailand has become a popular destination for medical tourists from around the world.
  • India: With its combination of advanced healthcare infrastructure, skilled medical professionals, and affordable treatment options, India has emerged as a prominent player in the health tourism sector.
  • Singapore: Known for its high-quality healthcare system, Singapore attracts health tourists seeking top-notch medical treatments and wellness experiences.
  • Turkey: Offering high-quality medical care at competitive prices, Turkey has become a preferred destination for health tourists, particularly for cosmetic procedures and dental treatments.
  • Hungary: Hungary is well-known for its dental and medical spa tourism, thanks to its high-quality services and natural thermal springs.
  • Costa Rica: This Central American country has made a name for itself in the medical tourism industry by providing affordable, high-quality healthcare services in a beautiful natural setting.
  • South Korea: Boasting world-class healthcare infrastructure and cutting-edge medical technology, South Korea is a top destination for cosmetic surgery and advanced medical treatments.
  • Malaysia: Offering a range of healthcare services at competitive prices, Malaysia has become a popular destination for medical and wellness tourism in     Southeast Asia.
  • Brazil: With its expertise in cosmetic surgery and dental treatments, Brazil attracts health tourists from across the globe.
  • Spain: Spain's modern healthcare infrastructure and affordable treatment options make it an attractive destination for European health tourists.

Travelers Engaging in Health Tourism

The number of travelers engaging in health tourism has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to the Medical Tourism Association, the global medical tourism industry was valued at $58.6 billion in2020, with an estimated 14 million patients traveling for medical treatments each year. This figure is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR)of 12% through 2025, reaching an estimated market value of $142.2 billion.

Wellness tourism, on the other hand, has also witnessed significant growth in recent years. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness tourism market was worth $639 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.5%, reaching $919 billion by 2022. This growth is driven by the increasing global demand for health and wellness experiences, as well as the rise in disposable incomes and greater awareness of preventive healthcare measures.

Several factors have contributed to the growth of health tourism. Some of these include:

Cost Savings: One of the main driving forces behind the growth of health tourism is the potential for significant cost savings. The cost of medical treatments and procedures can vary dramatically between countries due to factors such as labor costs, government subsidies, and differences in the cost of living. By traveling to countries with lower healthcare costs, health tourists can save a considerable amount of money. For example, a heart bypass surgery in the United States may cost around $100,000,while the same procedure in India could cost approximately $7,000. These cost savings can be particularly attractive for patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or require elective procedures that are not covered by insurance.

Access to Specialized Treatments: Another factor driving health tourism is the opportunity to access specialized treatments that may not be available or have limited availability in one's home country. This can be due to a lack of cutting-edge medical technology, a shortage of medical professionals with specialized skills, or restrictive regulations on certain treatments. Health tourists may choose to travel abroad to receive state-of-the-art care or treatments that are considered experimental or unapproved in their home country.

Shorter Waiting Times: In some countries, patients may face long waiting times for certain medical treatments or procedures due to factors such as limited healthcare resources or high demand. These waiting times can be particularly challenging for patients with chronic pain, deteriorating conditions, or urgent medical needs. Health tourism offers the opportunity for patients to bypass these waiting times and receive the necessary treatments more quickly. For example, a patient in the United Kingdom may face a waiting period of several months for a hip replacement surgery, while the same procedure could be readily available in countries such as Spain or Turkey.

Higher Quality of Care: Some health tourists perceive that the quality of care in another country may be higher than what is available in their home country. This perception can stem from factors such as the reputation of the destination country's healthcare system, the use of advanced medical technology, or the expertise of the medical professionals. For example, Singapore is renowned for its world-class healthcare system, attracting health tourists seeking top-notch medical treatments and wellness experiences. Additionally, countries like South Korea have gained a reputation for excellence in cosmetic surgery, drawing patients from around the world to receive high-quality care from skilled surgeons.

Combining Medical Procedures with Leisure Travel: Health tourism also offers the unique opportunity for individuals to combine medical treatments or wellness experiences with leisure travel. Many health tourists choose to extend their stay in the destination country to explore the local culture, visit tourist attractions, or simply relax and recuperate in a beautiful setting. This combination of medical and leisure travel can contribute to the overall well-being of the patient and enhance their recovery process. For example, a patient undergoing dental treatment in Costa Rica might also take the time to visit the country's beautiful beaches, rainforests, and national parks during their stay.

Health tourism has emerged as a significant sector within the global tourism industry, fueled by factors such as cost savings, access to specialized treatments, and a growing focus on wellness and preventative healthcare. As the industry continues to expand, more countries are investing in their healthcare infrastructure to attract health tourists, offering a wide range of medical and wellness services to meet the diverse needs of these travelers. With the increasing popularity of health tourism, it is essential for healthcare providers, governments, and tourism organizations to work together to ensure the highest standards of care and services for health tourists while promoting sustainable and responsible practices within the industry.

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Medical travel facilitator certification.

GHA’s Medical Travel Facilitator Certification is conducted online and focuses on validating the capacity of facilitator companies to provide appropriate services to clients that enhance safety and patient experience along the entire Medical Travel Care Continuum (patient journey) as appropriate to the to the particular healthcare provider and the facilitator company’s business model.

UN Tourism | Bringing the world closer

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UNWTO/ETC Launch Report on Health Tourism

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PR No. : PR 18100

Madrid, Spain, 27 December 2018 – The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), together with the European Travel Commission (ETC) launched a new report on health tourism. Part of their joint research programme, the study is the first attempt to set a coherent conceptualization of health tourism and define the motivations behind travellers looking for health-related services.

‘Exploring Health Tourism’ proposes a comprehensive taxonomy with a consistent terminology to define and describe the intricate system of travelling for health purposes and provides a practical toolkit for National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) wanting to develop health tourism.

As defined in the report, health tourism covers those types of tourism which have as a primary motivation the contribution to physical, mental and/or spiritual health through medical and wellness-based activities.

The report sheds light on the factors shaping health tourism such as technological developments, personal health, data protection and urbanization. It also explores the market, the demand and the supply of health tourism and provides examples of marketing management. Finally, the study proposes a set of recommendations ranging from improved data collection and more accurate measurement to more accessible and sustainable health tourism calling for further partnerships.

Useful links:                                                       

Exploring Health Tourism Report

Exploring Health Tourism Report- Executive Summary

UNWTO Communications Department

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 /  [email protected]

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What Is Health Tourism? Inside the Travel Trend That Is Going Viral on TikTok

If you’ve spent any time on the health side of social media these days, you may have come across a recent phenomenon known as “health tourism” or “medical tourism.” So what exactly is this booming trend going viral on TikTok?

What is health tourism?

For those unfamiliar with the term, health tourism refers to the practice in which people will travel to different countries seeking medical procedures and treatments — but what’s the draw? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are numerous reasons for seeking out medical care in foreign countries.

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For example, the price of treatments or procedures may be less expensive in certain countries. Many have documented trips to countries such as Turkey for discounted dental implants and hair transplant surgery.

Another draw to pursuing medical treatment in another country is cultural — receiving medical treatments and consultations from those who share your culture and language can ease a lot of the anxieties one might feel about receiving them.

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Finally, a traveler might be seeking out a treatment that is not yet available or approved within the United States.

What types of treatments are people trying to get?

“ ...To dispel any misconceptions about medical tourism , not all medical travel is for cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction, facelifts and rhinoplasty,” said Forbes in 2023.

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“While those are popular, it may come as a surprise that dental procedures, heart valve replacements, fertility treatments and orthopedic surgeries are standard in the medical tourism industry.”

In a recently viral TikTok video shared by user bryn.elise, the creator shared her experience traveling to Turkey, where she received “ the most in-depth checkup of my life .”

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In the video, she outlines a day full of medical tests she underwent as a part of her check-up. These included blood work, an EKG, a chest X-Ray, an abdominal ultrasound, a thyroid ultrasound, a visit to the gynecologist, the eye doctor, a stress test, a chest ultrasound and more.

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A one-on-one meeting with an internal medicine doctor allowed her to go over the “30-plus scans, tests and cancer markers I was tested for in-depth, and I got to ask all my pressing questions about my health,” she explained. She summed up the video by sharing that the price of it all came out to $810.

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What are the risks of health tourism?

While there are benefits to medical tourism, there are also risks. Some of these risks, according to the CDC, include that of infection as well as quality of care, as some countries have different criteria for medical licensing and accreditation.

Additional risks include that in which air travel after medical procedures might pose, such as blood clots, as well as continuity of care. If follow-up appointments are necessary after a procedure, the price can add up.

If you choose to pursue medical and health tourism, be sure to do your research prior, understand the risks, bring your medical records and properly prepare for your procedure, both before and after.

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Medical Tourism

Health tourism's new horizons: 2023 outlook.

health tourism

Health tourism, an industry at the intersection of healthcare and travel, is rapidly evolving. As we step into 2023, the sector faces a transformative era characterized by technological advancements, changing patient demographics, and emerging destinations. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape and future outlook of health tourism, focusing on key trends, challenges, and opportunities that industry professionals should be aware of.

Emerging Trends in Health Tourism

  • Personalized Healthcare Packages : In 2023, health tourism is increasingly pivoting towards personalized care. Patients are looking for packages that not only address their medical needs but also offer a holistic experience encompassing pre-treatment consultations, post-operative care, and wellness therapies.
  • Technology Integration : The integration of digital technology in health tourism is a game-changer. Telemedicine, AI-driven diagnostics, and virtual consultations are becoming commonplace, enabling seamless patient journeys and enhancing the quality of care.
  • Sustainable Practices : Sustainability is a growing concern in health tourism. There is a noticeable shift towards eco-friendly practices in healthcare facilities, including the use of green technologies and the promotion of wellness activities that align with environmental conservation.
  • Rise of Wellness Tourism : Apart from traditional medical treatments, there is a surge in demand for wellness-focused tourism. Activities like yoga retreats, spa treatments, and alternative therapies are attracting a broader demographic.

Challenges Facing Health Tourism

  • Regulatory Compliance : Navigating the complex regulatory landscape remains a challenge for health tourism providers. Ensuring compliance with international healthcare standards and patient safety protocols is crucial for maintaining credibility.
  • Cultural and Language Barriers : Addressing cultural sensitivities and language differences is vital in catering to a global patient base. Providing multilingual support and cultural competence training for staff are essential steps.
  • Quality and Affordability Balance : Maintaining a balance between high-quality care and affordability is a persistent challenge. Providers need to offer competitive pricing without compromising on the quality of services.

Opportunities for Growth

  • Emerging Destinations : New geographic locations are emerging as hotspots for health tourism, offering unique medical specialties and competitive pricing.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations : Collaborations between healthcare providers, travel agencies, and insurance companies are pivotal for creating comprehensive health tourism packages.
  • Innovation in Treatment Options : Advances in medical treatments, such as regenerative medicine and minimally invasive surgeries, offer new avenues for health tourism growth.

The health tourism industry in 2023 is at a pivotal juncture, with significant opportunities for growth and innovation. By understanding and adapting to the latest trends and challenges, industry professionals can capitalize on the vast potential of this dynamic sector.

This article provides an in-depth look into the state of health tourism in 2023, offering valuable insights for professionals in the field. It navigates through various aspects of the industry without referencing specific organizations or individuals, thereby maintaining an educational and informative tone.

To receive a free quote for this procedure please click on the link: https://www.medicaltourism.com/get-a-quote

For those seeking medical care abroad, we highly recommend hospitals and clinics who have been accredited by Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA). With a strong emphasis on exceptional patient experience, GHA accredited facilities are attuned to your cultural, linguistic, and individual needs, ensuring you feel understood and cared for. They adhere to the highest standards, putting patient safety and satisfaction at the forefront. Explore the world's top GHA-accredited facilities here . Trust us, your health journey deserves the best.

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The Medical Tourism Magazine (MTM), known as the “voice” of the medical tourism industry, provides members and key industry experts with the opportunity to share important developments, initiatives, themes, topics and trends that make the medical tourism industry the booming market it is today.

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Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Health and wellness tourism today.

health tourism

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) health is a state of physical mental and social well-being and not merely the complete absence of disease or infirmity. In accordance with this definition wellness can be equated with health. Health and wellness involves several well-being dimensions including physical mental social sexual emotional cultural spiritual educational occupational financial ethical and existential dimensions. ‍

This article represents an attempt to develop an understanding of current health and wellness tourism around the world. The aims are to:

  • clarify concepts because of the usual incipiency and lack of conceptual rigor regarding health and wellness tourism
  • qualify procedures and patient safety as crucial factors
  • importance of destination branding.

Brief History: Health and Wellness

Past ancestors: Ayurvedic Medicine (India 3000 BC) Chinese Medicine (Emperor Sheng Nung 20382698 BC) Thai Traditional Medicine Japanese Onsen Russian Steam Bath Tell el Amarna Therms (Egypt 1350 BC) Greek Thalassa (Hippocrates 460355 BC) Roman Thermae/Balnea Publica (II BCIII AC) Arabian Medicine (8th-15th century Al Razi 850923) Turkish Haman Dead Sea Salts Baths Egyptian Mansuri Hospital (Cairo 1248).

Travellers came from all over the world Native American Sweat Lodge Mexican Temazcalli Australian Aboriginal Steam Baths Mineral Springs in Spa near Liége (14th) Climatotherapy (XVIII/XIX Centuries) in Madeira and Canarias Islands Scientific Medicine (19th century). Recent years: 1959  Inauguration of Golgen Door Spa in California 1987  Official beginning of the Global SPA industry  SpaFinder Magazine 1991  International SPA Association  ISPA (USA) 1996  European SPA Association. ‍

In health and wellness tourism quality/excellence safety and ethics are deeply connected.

ESPA (Brussels) 1998  Guide of the 100 Best SPAS of the World 2003  Spa Asia Magazine 2007  Medical Tourism Association  MTA USA 2007  I Congress on Medical Tourism Worldwide Munich 2008  I International Health Tourism Congress Turkey  Association of Improving Health Tourism 2008 onward -- Congress took place in different cities in Turkey 2008  First Annual World Medical Tourism Association Congress 2008 onward.

Congress took place in different cities in USA 2010/2012  Annual European Medical Travel Conference (EMTC)  Venice Barcelona Berlin 2012  I International Conference on Health and Tourism Faro Portugal 2013  International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference Monaco 2014  II International Congress on Health and Tourism Albufeira Portugal. ‍

Emergent Paradigms on Health and Medicine

Preventive Medicine promotes healthy lifestyles and diets stress management intellectual stimulation and fitness with a focus on wellness assessments versus illness. ‍

‍ Predictive Medicine individual health promotion based on diagnostics of genetic and environmental determinants. ‍

‍ Holistic Medicine whole-being meaning physical well-being mental awareness and wisdom spiritual harmony and equilibrium. ‍

Integrative Medicine brings together orthodox Western medicine/Allopathic and other Eastern holistic medicines  Chinese Ayurvedic and Indigenous knowledge and environmental consciousness. Integrative medicine emphasizes wellness wholeness and a preventive approach to health. Western medicine is based on an illness model concerned with treating disease rather than enhancing wellness. ‍

‍ Anti-Aging medicine that combines all those preceding paradigms. ‍

Definition: Health and Wellness Tourism

Health and wellness tourism includes travelling both nationally and internationally to places and facilities such as hospitals clinics thermae thalasso wellness SPAs and fitness centers and wellness resorts. ‍

In 2012 it was estimated that a million medical tourists travelled around the world for outbound/ inbound medical tourism.

The purpose of health and wellness tourism is medical care and health beauty relaxation recovery and rehabilitation treatments. There are more than a hundred-million health and wellness tourists around the world each year. Health and wellness tourism includes medical tourism elderly age tourism disability tourism thermal tourism and thalasso-therapy tourism. ‍

Wellness Tourism

Wellness tourism includes consumers who travel to maintain their well-being and life satisfaction through the experiences of healthy treatments. Wellness has to do with quality of life. In a holistic approach to health (Chinese ayurvedic and integrative medicines) wellness treatments and therapies restore the vital balance among bodies mind and spirit toward equilibrium and health harmony. This harmony re-balances and restores the energy flow bringing about overall well-being. ‍

Health Tourism

Health tourism refers to patients who travel nationally or internationally for healing therapies in hospitals and clinics. Health tourism includes medical tourism aesthetical/plastic tourism thermal tourism and thalassotherapy tourism. ‍

Medical Tourism

Medical tourism involves travel to hospitals and clinics for medical treatments in different areas including cardiology gynaecology neurology ophthalmology oncology orthopaedic transplants preventive medicine artificial insemination anti-aging medicine and plastic reconstructive medicine.

Medical tourism is also known as medical travel health tourism health travel healthcare tourism healthcare abroad medical overseas and overseas medical.Medical tourism has two components: inbound and outbound. In 2012 it was estimated that a million medical tourists travelled around the world for outbound/inbound medical tourism.

Medical tourism is a $100 billion global industry. The most important destinations include Argentina Austria Belgium Bolivia Brazil Chile Colombia Costa Rica Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Dubai El Salvador France Germany Greece Guatemala Hungary India Israel Jordan Malaysia Mexico Philippines Poland Singapore South Africa South Korea Spain Sir Lanka Thailand Tunisia Turkey United Arab Emirates Venezuela and Vietnam. ‍

Aesthetical Tourism

Aesthetical tourism includes aesthetic surgery and treatments. In aesthetic/plastic tourism the most important countries are the United States and Brazil. Other destinations are Argentina Austria Belgium Bolivia Costa Rica Cuba France Germany Greece Hungary Italy Poland South Africa Spain Tunisia Turkey United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. ‍

Quality/Excellence and Safety

Within the scope of healthcare the quality of procedures and patient/client safety is strongly connected. Quality is the level of excellence ensured by a continuous managerial system.Safety is the condition/state of being secure from hurt/ injury and aims to prevent accidents and contagious diseases. It includes protective devices to prevent hazardous accidents and nosokomeion diseases. ‍

Quality/Excellence and Main Safety Components

Safe Environment air quality water quality reduced noise and visual pollution free of radiation pollution (magnetic electric nuclear) natural or recreated pleasant landscape - healthy trees bushes and flowers.

‍ Architectonic Requirements Modern and pleasant-looking healthcare facilities that enable the fast physical mental and spiritual well-being of patients and that makes their relatives and visitors rest and relax.

The main architectonic requirements are operating rooms located in sterilized areas lounges designed as living rooms and libraries assuring safety patient well-being and reduced time in integrated examination rooms on the same floor special architectural design that allows optimization of patient flow within the hospital and aims to prevent infections floors walls and ceiling materials must be easy to clean and disinfect walls painted with soft colors such as blue green and pink natural lighting and ventilation and healthy plants. ‍

Medical tourism hospitals must have a specialized staff which can speak different languages fluently namely the official voice of the patient's country.

A new generation of healthcare facilities is emerging that is very different from familiar institutional models. Based on patient-centered care and healing the whole person these health centers are spiritual sanctuaries with gardens fountains natural light art and music. Research is learning how human emotions are linked to disease and that healing is promoted by surroundings that reduce stress and engage the senses in therapeutic ways. Jain Malkin ‍

Hotel Structure and Services

The hospital (hospital like a hotel) requires healthcare humanization beautiful lounges several restaurants and cafeterias shops exhibition galleries musical concerts conference halls containing simultaneous translation systems and catering and laundry facilities specializing in the healthcare sector. A hospital is primarily a hotel in which health services are provided. Acibadem Turkey ‍

Technological Accuracy/Modern Technology

The latest international technology is put into service including accurate diagnosis equipment a fully equipped digital radiology department accurate radiotherapy treatments cyber-knife robotic surgery systems advanced cardiology ophthalmology and orthopaedics diagnosis treatment equipment and organ transplants. ‍

Professional Healthcare Qualifications: Surgeons Doctors and Others

Professional staff includes a high-qualified board of internationally certified surgeons and doctors specialized in different medical fields highly qualified anaesthesiologists qualified nurses and others health professionals. ‍

Multi-Language Staff Communicating Skills

Medical tourism hospitals must have a specialized staff which can speak different languages fluently namely the official voice of the patient's country. Good communication is very important to the safety and well-being of patients and their relatives. ‍

Scientific Affiliation

Hospitals and clinics develop protocols with universities/ colleges and research centers. Turkey Acibadem is affiliated with Harvard Medical International and Anadolu Health Center with John Hopkins Hospital. ‍

Healthcare Humanization

It is very important that patient-centered healthcare include a warm and tender environment attention to each individual patient's needs respect of cultural roots alimentary traditions and religious beliefs and patient participation in musical and theatrical groups. ‍

Accreditation and Certification

In medical/aesthetical tourism it is important to attest to the excellence and safety of healthcare services for clients from other countries. The most important international accreditation institutions are the Joint Commission International (JCI) Canadian Council on Health Services (CCHSA) Deutche Akkreditierrungasstelle Chemie (GMBH) Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists Clinical Laboratory Accreditation Certificate ISO 15189 and ISSO 9001:2000 Medical Tourism Association (MTA Certification) International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQUA) European Society for Quality in Healthcare (ESQH) International Organization for standardization (ISO) Trent Accreditation Schemes (TAS) King's Fund Health Quality Services (KFHQS) and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). ‍

High Standard of Ethical and Professional Deontology

In health and wellness tourism quality/excellence safety and ethics are deeply connected. The aesthetical surgeons must avoid making several surgical operations while informing the client/patient of the dangers of multiple aesthetical surgeries. ‍

Importance of Branding Destinations

Health and wellness brand destination becomes more important to promote the image of high-quality healthcare in a location (city region country). Seeking to attract international patients from around the world partners and stakeholders should work together to develop network synergies health and wellness clusters. Hotels and resorts become healthcare facilities for prior and post-surgery medical travellers. ‍

Attractive and Competitive Advantage of a Destination

The attractiveness and competitive advantage of medical/ aesthetical tourism are competitive prices on a global scale international accessibility and proximity international accreditation/certification and excellence.

Excellence is defined as a high-level of holistic quality (several levels and parameters) which exceed expectations including accredited hospitals qualified doctors certified surgeons qualified anaesthesiologists qualified nurses and others professionals advanced technologies efficacious therapeutic procedures faster medical services affiliation with universities and research centres humanization of healthcare beautiful hospitals hospitality/hotel structure linguistically competent teams healing climate pleasant environment/ landscapes healthy gastronomy and partnership with luxury hotels and resorts. ‍

About the Authors

João Viegas Fernandes is a founder and president of the Associação Portuguesa de Turismo de Saúde e Bem  Estar  APTSBE (Health and Wellness Tourism Portuguese Association). He is also the architect and advisor to Algarve Region Health & Wellness Tourism Cluster and Destination Branding. He is considered a visionary pioneer and expert in health and wellness in Portugal.

As a professor he conceptualized a discipline in health and wellness tourism which he teaches in the School of Management Hospitality and Tourism of Algarve University. He has lectured in various universities in Portugal Spain and Brazil and is researching health and wellness tourism around the world.

Fernandes is a consultant in this area both nationally and internationally. Fernandes has spoken at several conferences in Portugal Spain Brazil Turkey Cape Verde and Monaco on sustainable health and wellness tourism. He is the author of the book ThalassaThermae SPA-Salute Per Aqua (Lisboa Portugal 2006).

He also is co-author of several articles and books including SPAS Centros Talasso e Termas: Turismo de Saúde e Bem-Estar (Lisboa Portugal 2008) and Turismo de Saúde e Bem-Estar no Mundo: Ética Excelência Segurança e Sustentabilidade (São Paulo Brazil 2011).

Fernandes was the chairperson of the I International Conference on Health and Tourism (Faro Portugal 2012) and the II International Congress on Health and Tourism (Albufeira Portugal 2014). He is an advocate of increased cooperation in health and wellness tourism among the eight countries which speak Portuguese. ‍

Filomena Maurício Viegas Fernandes is a medical doctor and specialist in public health. She was the health delegate in several municipalities in the Algarve region and has been responsible for a number of programs on public health.

She has delivered presentations at various international conferences and is considered an expert in health and wellness tourism. Fernandes has been researching and teaching health and wellness tourism in the School of Management Hospitality and Tourism at Algarve University.

She is the co-author of several articles and books including SPAS Centros Talasso e Termas: Turismo de Saúde e Bem-Estar (Lisboa Portugal 2008) and Turismo de Saúde e Bem-Estar no Mundo. Ética Excelência Segurança e Sustentabilidade (São Paulo Brazil 2011).

Fernandes was a member of the organizing committee of the I International Conference on Health and Tourism (Faro Portugal 2012) and is coordinating the II International Congress on Health and Tourism in Albufeira Algarve Portugal in 2014.

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The Medical Tourism Magazine (MTM), known as the “voice” of the medical tourism industry, provides members and key industry experts with the opportunity to share important developments, initiatives, themes, topics and trends that make the medical tourism industry the booming market it is today.

DESTINATION

health tourism

1. Overview

Brief introduction to the country and its reputation in medical tourism.

Russia, the world’s largest country by land area, offers a unique blend of history, culture, and cutting-edge technology. While Russia may not be the first destination that comes to mind when considering medical tourism, it has been gaining traction in this field. With substantial investments in healthcare infrastructure and medical research, Russia is slowly but steadily becoming a destination worth considering for various medical procedures. The country has a growing reputation for offering state-of-the-art medical treatments, often at a fraction of the cost you might pay in Western Europe or North America.

Historical and Cultural Significance in Medicine

Russia has a long-standing history of medical research and innovation. From the times of renowned scientists like Ivan Pavlov to contemporary achievements in cardiology and neurology, the country has been instrumental in contributing to global medical science. Russian medical institutions have also been engaged in pioneering work in fields like radiology, organ transplantation, and aerospace medicine, reflecting a cultural emphasis on scientific inquiry and innovation.

The Medical Landscape

The Russian healthcare system is a mix of public and private institutions, providing an array of treatments ranging from general medicine to specialized surgeries. While public healthcare is generally available to citizens, the growing private healthcare sector caters to both local and international patients, often providing services that match global standards.

What Draws Medical Tourists to Russia?

Medical tourists often find Russia appealing due to its advanced technology, specialized treatments, and relatively lower costs. Moreover, the prospect of combining medical treatment with a cultural experience is another attractive feature. Known for its grand architecture, vibrant arts scene, and rich history, Russia offers an all-around travel experience alongside high-quality medical care.

2. Popular Medical Procedures

List and brief descriptions of procedures.

  • Cosmetic Surgery : Including procedures like rhinoplasty, liposuction, and breast augmentation, Russia is increasingly becoming a destination for cosmetic surgery.
  • Dental Treatments : Dental implants, crowns, and veneers are some of the sought-after treatments.
  • Cardiac Surgery : With advanced technology, cardiac procedures like bypass surgeries and angioplasties are performed at specialized centers.
  • Orthopedic Surgeries : Hip and knee replacements are commonly done here with a high success rate.

Specializations or Pioneering Treatments

Russia is becoming known for its cancer treatments, including specialized radiation therapies and immunotherapy treatments. Additionally, the country has been involved in research and treatment of neurological conditions, offering specialized services in this domain.

3. Top Hospitals & Clinics

Renowned hospitals and clinics.

  • Almazov National Medical Research Centre, St. Petersburg
  • European Medical Center, Moscow
  • Moscow City Clinical Hospital

Accreditation and Affiliation

Most top hospitals are accredited by Russian healthcare authorities and some even possess international accreditations. These hospitals often collaborate with international medical institutions for research and training purposes.

Special Features, Awards, or Recognitions

Many hospitals have received awards for medical excellence and innovations in treatments. They also offer features like English-speaking staff, modern facilities, and state-of-the-art medical equipment.

4. Cost Comparison

Comparative data.

On average, medical procedures in Russia can cost 30-70% less than in Western Europe or North America. For instance, a dental implant that might cost upwards of $3,000 in the United States could be available for around $1,000 in Russia.

Price Ranges

Costs can vary based on the facility, location, and type of procedure. Always get multiple quotes and consult with healthcare providers to get a more accurate picture.

5. Quality & Safety

Medical standards and practices.

Russia is committed to ensuring high standards of medical care, supported by its educational system that produces skilled doctors and medical professionals. While there might be variations in quality between rural and urban centers, most metropolitan areas have hospitals and clinics equipped with modern technology and well-trained staff.

Accreditation Systems and Regulatory Bodies

In Russia, medical facilities are generally regulated by the Ministry of Health. While not all hospitals may have international accreditations, most top institutions meet or exceed global healthcare standards.

Quality Checks and Patient Safety Protocols

Russian healthcare providers employ a variety of safety measures such as pre-surgical consultations, sterilization protocols, and rigorous post-operative care. They also tend to follow internationally recognized best practices to ensure patient safety.

Patient Rights

Patients have the right to quality healthcare, the right to choose their physician, and the right to confidentiality. These are enshrined in Russian medical law and are generally adhered to by healthcare providers.

6. Medical Visa Information

Guidelines and requirements.

To obtain a medical visa, you generally need a formal invitation from the Russian medical institution where you plan to receive treatment. Proof of financial stability and medical insurance are often required.

Duration, Documentation, and Application Process

The visa can be valid for up to 90 days, with possible extensions in case of medical necessity. Documentation usually includes your passport, invitation letter, visa application form, and photographs. Applications are typically processed within 10 to 20 business days, although expedited services are available for an additional fee.

Travel-related Advisories or Restrictions

It’s advisable to keep an eye on travel advisories and consult your home country's embassy or consulate for the most current information.

7. Cultural Considerations

Local customs and etiquette.

While Russia is generally welcoming to tourists, being aware of local customs and etiquette can enrich your experience. A basic understanding of Russian manners, such as greetings and proper attire, can be beneficial.

Language and Communication

While the primary language is Russian, English is often spoken in large hospitals and medical centers. Nonetheless, it's advisable to confirm the availability of English-speaking staff or interpreters.

Dietary Considerations

Russia offers a variety of cuisine options, though traditional foods might be heavy in meat and dairy. Vegetarian and vegan options are increasingly available, particularly in larger cities.

8. Travel & Accommodation

Popular areas to stay.

Moscow and St. Petersburg are popular destinations with proximity to top medical facilities. Both cities offer a range of lodging options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

Proximity to Medical Facilities

Medical centers are often well-connected by public transportation or are just a short drive away from popular accommodation areas.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Russia has an extensive public transportation network, including subways, buses, and taxis. Apps like Uber are also widely used.

Post-procedure Relaxation and Recuperation Spots

Russia is rich in natural beauty, from the beaches of Sochi to the serene landscapes of Siberia, offering plenty of options for post-procedure relaxation.

9. Legal & Ethical Considerations

Legal rights of patients.

Patients have the right to informed consent, confidentiality, and quality healthcare as per Russian laws.

Medical Malpractice Laws and Patient Recourse

In cases of medical malpractice, patients have the right to legal recourse. However, legal proceedings can be long and complex.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical standards are generally in line with international norms. Issues such as organ transplantation are strictly regulated.

10. Benefits & Risks

Among the benefits are lower costs, high-quality specialized treatments, and the opportunity to explore Russian culture and history.

Potential Risks

Language barriers and variations in quality between rural and urban healthcare centers are some of the risks involved. Always conduct thorough research and consultations before proceeding with any medical treatment.

11. Post-procedure Care

Post-operative care.

Russian medical facilities often offer robust post-operative care programs, including rehabilitation and follow-up appointments.

Availability and Quality of Rehabilitation Centers

Rehabilitation centers, especially in metropolitan areas, are well-equipped and staffed with trained medical professionals.

12. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Is English widely spoken in Russian hospitals? In major cities and top healthcare centers, yes. However, it's advisable to confirm this before you travel.
  • How do I pay for medical procedures? Payment methods vary, but most top hospitals accept credit cards and wire transfers.
  • Is it safe to travel alone? While generally safe, it is always advisable to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar areas.
  • Is medical insurance necessary? Yes, proof of medical insurance is usually a requirement for obtaining a medical visa.
  • What is the quality of post-procedure care? High-quality post-procedure care is often available, particularly in specialized medical centers.

Global Provider Members

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Russian Ruble

144,500,000

With an area the size of Russia, it is difficult to give any sort of general advice about the climate and weather, except that summers are warm to hot, and winters get very cold in some areas. In general, the climate of Russia can be described as highly continental, with warm-to-hot, dry summers and (very) cold winters with temperatures of -30°C or lower. Heavy snowfall is not uncommon.

Facilitators

Featured treatments.

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MedicalTourism.com

MedicalTourism.com is a free, confidential, independent resource for patients and industry providers. Our mission is to provide a central portal where patients, medical tourism providers, hospitals, clinics, employers, and insurance companies can all find the information they need. Our site focuses on patients looking for specific knowledge in the fields of medical tourism, dental tourism, and health tourism.

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Medical Tourism

Moscow City Clinical Hospital after V.M. Buyanov provides all types of emergency and planned medical care. Our hospital is located in the south of Moscow, in the historical district Tsaritsino (half an hour from Domodedovo International Airport (DME) and Red Square). All our doctors are experienced employees, true professionals, some of whom have an honorary title “Moscow Doctor”.

The main types of providing medical care:

  • All types of diagnostics (including laboratory diagnostics, X-ray studies, ultrasound, CT, MRI);
  • Medical assistance in ICU (if it necessary);
  • High-tech medical care in the following areas: – Cardiovascular surgery; – Neurosurgery and neurology (including recovery after stroke); – Orthopedics and traumatology (including arthroscopy, joint replacement); – Gynecology (including pelviperineology); – Urology; – Ophthalmology (including eye microsurgery); – ENT; – Gastroenterology & hepatology; – Endocrinology (including treatment of diabetes); – General surgery
  • Accommodation in 1- and 2-bed rooms with all amenities. Also, our patients can be accommodated in the High-Level Department.

Price list in Russian

Patient action algorithm for getting medical care:

health tourism

The mode of operation of Medical Tourism Department:

  • Monday-Friday (from 8.00 to 19.00)
  • Saturday (from 8.00 to 14.00)
  • Emergency medical care is provided in around the clock mode

All medical care are provided to foreign citizens on a fee basis (under the Policy of VMI (Voluntary Medical Insurance) or in cash).

Dear Patients! Our experts are ready to offer You a meeting at the airport, transfer, Your accommodation in a hospital as well as accommodation of persons accompanying You.

Call & write us:

Tel.: +7 (495) 321-57-40 (Medical Tourism Department) E-mail: [email protected] Also, to contact us, You can use the form:

Ask a Question / Request a call

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Moscow, Beregovoy proezd, 5A/1 Office: +7 (499) 702-33-93 Email: [email protected]

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Agency of medical tourism from Moscow (Russia). Treatment in Russia, CIS countries and worldwide

Company MedicaTour Ltd. is one of the leading medical tourism companies in the world. It is based in Moscow (Russia) and is engaged in the organization of treatment in Russia, CIS and around the world. Company works with the best hospitals of the world and leading doctors and can select quality treatment for any budget.

  • All areas of medicine
  • Both classic and innovative treatments
  • Large government medical centers and private clinics around the world
  • Selection of a medical institution for any budget

Our experts will provide you information about medical institutions in different countries and help you make an effective and safe choice of treatment.

  • orthopedic operations (spine, joints, hernias, etc.)
  • heart surgery
  • cancer treatment
  • diabetes treatment
  • hepatitis C treatment
  • all procedures for aesthetic and plastic surgery
  • organ transplantation
  • removal of stones from the kidneys, gall bladder, bladder
  • all ENT diseases
  • a ll types of eye surgery and ophthalmic procedures
  • infertility treatment, IVF
  • rehabilitation programs
  • childbirth organization
  • treatment of female diseases
  • treatment of male diseases
  • treatment of alcohol, drugs and other addictions
  • chronic diseases
  • healing spa
  • detox programs
  • anti-aging programs
  • diagnostic programs
  • weight loss programs

We also work with children's medical centers.

If you are diagnosed and have any doubts about this, we strongly recommend that you get a second opinion (second opinion of a specialist) from another country, or even from several countries.

Innovative treatments

The company is constantly monitoring the medical services market around the world and is aware of the emergence of new innovative treatment methods:

  • stem cells treatment
  • prostatectomy by Robot da Vinci;
  • dendritic cells cancer treatment
  • non-surgical treatment of the spine
  • virotherapy of cancer
  • CAR T-cells treatment of leukemia
  • TIL therapy for ovarian cancer
  • Vacuum aspiration biopsy (non-surgical removal of breast lesions)

Large state medical centers and private clinics

The main advantage of our services is that we offer you only well-studied and verified data on medical institutions, doctors and surgeons from Asia to the Middle East, Latin America and Europe, Moscow and the near abroad. In many institutions, our specialists visited themselves on study visits.

Contact us - call, send your requests  - we will provide you with the best options and answers. And then the choice is yours.

On June 22, the autograph session of the Founder and CEO of MedicaTour Tatiana Sokolov was successfully held on the occasion of the release of her first fiction book "The Way to Dehradun". At the meeting, the author was asked questions in an informal setting, all participants signed books with wishes and an autograph by Tatiana Sokolov.

From March 20 to 22, MedicaTour management was invited to visit Volgograd city in Russia in order to get acquainted with the possibilities of medicine in this region. On March 21, CEO of MedicaTour took part in a training master class for hospitals "Export of medical services", which was organized at the Export Support Center of the Volgograd region.

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  • Connect with top-rated hospitals and clinics offering state-of-the-art facilities for plastic surgery, bariatric procedures, and other complex surgeries.
  • Meet leading surgeons and medical professionals who possess the expertise, experience, and commitment to delivering exceptional patient care.
  • Learn about the latest innovations and techniques in surgical procedures, ensuring you make informed decisions about your health journey.
  • Take advantage of exclusive promotions, discounts, and offers available only to expo attendees, while exploring numerous specialties in one place such as cosmetic surgery, dental treatments, hair transplantation, bariatric surgery and many more.

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Maximize Your Reach: Expand Your Health Tourism Business at Our Premier Expo”

  • Showcase your services and offerings to a targeted audience of potential clients, industry professionals, and health tourism agencies.
  • Network with key decision-makers and forge strategic partnerships to expand your business reach and influence.
  • Enhance your brand visibility and reputation through our comprehensive marketing campaigns, driving higher engagement and conversions.
  • Gain access to exclusive industry insights, trends, and innovations during expert-led conferences and panel discussions.
  • Leverage our dedicated support team to ensure a seamless and successful exhibiting experience.

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EXPERIENCE THE FUTURE OF HEALTH TOURISM: UNVEIL A WORLD OF HEALTHCARE AT OUR PREMIER EXPO

Get ready to embark on a journey of medical services like never before at our Health Tourism Expo! This one-of-a-kind event unites Europe's leading medical facilities, innovative treatments, and top-notch healthcare providers under one roof, promising a transformative experience.

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Russia Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

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After Your Trip

Map - Russia

Be aware of current health issues in Russia. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Global Measles May 28, 2024 Many international destinations are reporting increased numbers of cases of measles. Destination List: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Russia.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Russia. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Russia.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Dogs infected with rabies are sometimes found in Russia.

Rabies is also present in some terrestrial wildlife species.

If rabies exposures occur while in Russia, rabies vaccines may only be available in larger suburban/urban medical facilities.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccination considerations include whether travelers 1) will be performing occupational or recreational activities that increase risk for exposure to potentially rabid animals and 2) might have difficulty getting prompt access to safe post-exposure prophylaxis.

Please consult with a healthcare provider to determine whether you should receive pre-exposure vaccination before travel.

For more information, see country rabies status assessments .

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Tick-borne Encephalitis

For travelers moving or traveling to TBE-endemic areas

TBE vaccine is recommended for persons who will have extensive exposure to ticks based on their planned outdoor activities and itinerary.

TBE vaccine may be considered for persons who might engage in outdoor activities in areas ticks are likely to be found. 

Tick-borne Encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil
  • Avoid floodwater

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites.

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever

  • Tick bite 
  • Touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF
  • Avoid Bug Bites

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Russia, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Russia. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Russia include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Russia’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Russia may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Russia, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Russia for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

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Exit Notification / Disclaimer Policy

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
  • Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
  • You will be subject to the destination website's privacy policy when you follow the link.
  • CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on other federal or private website.

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  • Medical Tourism
  • Russia medical tourism
  • Hospitals in Russia

Next Generation Clinic Moscow

Next Generation Clinic Moscow

Moscow, Russia

  • Contact Hospital

Next Generation Clinic Moscow - Overview

The dream of every family couple to have a child sometimes crashes against a problem called "infertility". But this is not a doom: our programs of treatment of various types of infertility, their competent selection, ongoing monitoring and consulting help most of our patients.

Sometimes the problem of infertility is solved just by administering hormonal drugs, in this case there is no need to use the complex and costly methods of assisted reproductive technologies. Our doctors never prescribe procedures not needed by the patient, but they are armed with the whole arsenal of techniques, from the basic to the most complex.

One can also make use of the program of delayed motherhood, which supposes vitrification of oocytes in the young age, with their further use in more mature age, for generation of embryo and conception with the use of in-vitro fertilization. The cryoconservation of embryos in the bank of our clinic allows a woman not to be subjected to hormonal stimulation in the future, but to use the embryos remaining after the first transfer.

Our Treatment…

IVF programs

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
  • IVF with ICSI
  • IVF in natural cycle
  • Egg / sperm / embryo donation programs
  • Artificial Insemination (AI)
  • Programs for female patients with reduced ovarian reserve, oocytes banking, embryo banking
  • Postponed maternity
  • In vitro Maturation (IVM)
  • Fertility preservation programs for cancer patients
  • IVF with PGT-A
  • Male infertility treatment
  • Treatment in hypogonadism, metabolic syndrome
  • Surgical sperm retrieval in azoospermia
  • Comprehensive analysis of genetic causes of male infertility
  • Andrology lab: a full range of ejaculate studies - physical, chemical and microscopic analysis; MAR test - determination of antiserum antibodies; HBA test - functional test for binding sperm to hyaluronic acid
  • Transportation services
  • Personal escort available
  • Visa arrangements
  • Electronic medical records

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Russia travel advice

Latest updates: Safety and security – terrorist attack in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast

Last updated: June 5, 2024 06:24 ET

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Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, russia - avoid all travel.

The armed conflict in Ukraine has led to armed incursions and shelling in areas close to the Russian-Ukrainian border. Drone strikes, explosions, and fires have occurred further into Russia’s interior. The impacts of the armed conflict with Ukraine could also include:

  • partial military mobilization
  • restrictions on financial transactions
  • increasingly limited flight options

If you are in Russia, you should leave while commercial means are still available. If you remain in Russia, maintain a low profile. Canadians holding Russian citizenship may be subject to call-up for mandatory military service.

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Terrorist attack in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast

On March 22, 2024, a terrorist attack occurred at the Crocus City Hall, a concert venue in Krasnogorsk, just outside central Moscow. There are reports of gunfire and explosions. The incident resulted in multiple casualties and fires continue to burn around the site of the attack.

Local authorities have cordoned off the affected area and have cancelled upcoming mass gatherings in Moscow. Further attacks could occur at any time.

If you are in Moscow Oblast:

  • avoid the affected area
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • exercise extreme caution in public and avoid large gatherings
  • contact the Embassy of Canada to Russia, in Moscow, if you require consular emergency assistance

Armed conflict with Ukraine

On June 24, 2023, there were reports of military tensions in the Rostov region.

Flight availability, already reduced following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, continues to be subject to unpredictable and significant limitations. If you are in Russia, you should leave while commercial means are still available.

Some financial transactions, including those with Canadian major credit and ATM cards, are not possible. As a result, you may not be able to use your credit card for purchases within Russia or to withdraw cash at an ATM. Availability of essential services may also be affected.

Communications related to the current situation are scrutinized by local authorities. You may face heavy consequences if you discuss, share or publish information related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Foreign journalists and other media workers in Russia may also face considerable risks.

Security conditions are unpredictable and could deteriorate without notice. The ability of our Embassy to provide consular services in Russia may become severely limited.

There have been armed incursions and shelling in areas close to the Russian-Ukrainian border, notably in Bryansk and Belgorod Oblasts. Drone strikes, explosions and fires have also occurred at key infrastructure sites and military installations further into Russia's interior and in cities, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

You may encounter an increased security presence with potential disruptions to transport and movement, especially in areas near Russian military installations.

Avoid all travel to Russia. If you decide to remain despite this advisory, be aware that:

  • you may have to stay in Russia longer than expected
  • you may be affected by shortages of essential products and services
  • you may not be able to use your banking cards for payment or to withdraw funds
  • you should not depend on the Government of Canada to help you leave the country

Additionally, while you remain in Russia, you should:

  • review your personal security plans on a daily basis
  • keep a low profile
  • refrain from discussing political developments in public or online
  • avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • make sure you have an adequate supply of cash, essential items and medications
  • avoid any area where there are military installations or activity
  • monitor trustworthy news sources to stay informed on the evolving situation
  • make sure your travel documents are up-to-date, including those of your family
  • contact your air company to check on flight availability
  • communicate your travel plans to family and friends
  • register and update your contact information through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and encourage other Canadian citizens in Russia to do so

Rostov Oblast

The Russian government has declared a state of emergency and maintains a significant military presence in Rostov Oblast. The situation along the Ukrainian border is unpredictable and could change quickly. Exercise extreme vigilance if you must travel to this region, as armed clashes and violence pose serious threats to your safety. If you are currently in this area, you should strongly consider leaving. The ability of the Embassy of Canada to Russia in Moscow to provide consular assistance in this district is extremely limited.

Republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, and Stavropol Krai

Terrorist attacks are frequent in the Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia republics and Stavropol region. The security situation is unstable and dangerous. Suicide bombings occur on a regular basis and targeted assassinations have also taken place. Unexploded mines and munitions are widespread. Kidnapping for ransom is also common.

You must obtain special permission from the Ministry of the Interior to enter certain areas and regions.

Republics of Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region), Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia

Tensions are high in Russia’s border regions with Georgia and may affect the security situation in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia republics. Military operations are carried out with little or no notice, and are accompanied by travel restrictions. The border crossings to Azerbaijan and Georgia are subject to frequent, sometimes lengthy closures.

There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist groups have called for attacks on Russian soil. Incidents resulting in death and injury have occurred most frequently in the North Caucasus region, Moscow and St. Petersburg, but may happen throughout the country. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • cultural venues, including concert halls, nightclubs, and event centres
  • places of worship
  • Russian airlines, airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Russian authorities have increased general security measures in Moscow and other large cities.

Violent crime

Crime against foreigners is a serious problem. Harassment and assaults are prevalent, particularly against foreigners of Asian and African descent. Some victims have died as a result of assaults. Foreigners in the areas to which we advise against all travel are particularly vulnerable. Several journalists and foreign aid personnel working in Russia have been killed or kidnapped. Criminals have targeted and destroyed well-marked aid convoys. Exercise extreme caution in crowds and open markets.

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs frequently and is often committed by groups of children and teenagers. Criminals use various techniques to distract the victims, including requests for help. In such situations, walk away quickly. Preferred areas for criminals include:

  • underground walkways
  • public transportation and transportation hubs
  • tourist sites
  • restaurants and markets
  • hotel rooms and residences (even when occupied and locked)

Reduce your risk of being targeted by travelling in groups with reputable tour agencies.

Avoid showing signs of affluence and ensure personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Replacing travel documents and visas is difficult, and could considerably delay your return to Canada.

Criminal strategies

Criminals may also pose as police officers, particularly in St. Petersburg. Real police officers wear a visible personal identification number on their uniforms. Bogus checkpoints may be set up in rural areas to commit robbery.

Demonstrations and elections

Demonstrations take place. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for the latest information

Due to heightened political tensions, be vigilant and don’t discuss political developments in public.

Useful links

  • More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
  • Laws regarding minors involved in demonstrations

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula

Tensions on the neighbouring Korean Peninsula could escalate with little notice and the security situation could deteriorate suddenly. Tensions may increase before, during and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests, military exercises or as the result of incidents or military activities at or near the inter-Korean border. Monitor developments, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. 

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

There have been cases of foreigners developing friendships or romantic relationships over the Internet and becoming entangled in financial issues in Russia. Remain vigilant and be aware that we can’t help you recover lost funds or property in such cases.

Only exchange money at major banks. Foreigners have been scammed in the past when exchanging money on the street.

Traffic police may stop motorists to collect fraudulent cash fines on the spot.

Credit card and automated banking machine (ABM) fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Organized crime

Organized criminal groups are active throughout Russia, particularly in large cities. Extortion and corruption are common business practices, including among foreign businesses. Criminals demand protection money from their victims under threat of serious violence. Report extortion attempts to Russian authorities.

Surveillance

Authorities may place foreigners under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, fax machines and e-mail messages may be monitored. Personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.

Power outages

Power outages and shortages occur often throughout Russia.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Discrimination against 2SLGBTQI+ individuals is common.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers, as well as their friends and families, have been targets of harassment and violence, particularly outside of Moscow.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Road safety

Road conditions vary and are often poor outside major cities.

Drivers don’t respect traffic laws and often drive and park on pedestrian areas. Accidents are common. Pedestrians should be particularly careful. In the event of an accident, don’t move the vehicle until the police arrive, even if the car is obstructing traffic.

Drive only during the day.

In winter, road travel can be hazardous due to ice and snow.

Public transportation

When travelling by train, store valuables in a safe place and don’t leave the compartment unattended. Lock the door from the inside.

Most major cities have reliable public transportation including buses, subways or streetcars.

Use only registered taxis and don’t share a taxi with strangers. Foreigners have been victims of assault and robbery when using unregistered taxis.

Book taxis in advance either by phone or through taxi company apps. Avoid flagging down taxis on the street, but if you do, negotiate the price before getting into the taxi.

Marine transportation

Boat accidents are common due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Safety standards differ from those in Canada. Exercise caution and common sense when using marine transportation. Don’t board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Russian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

border_crossings_with_finland

Border crossings with Finland

Finnish authorities have closed border crossings along the land border with Russia. As of December 15, 2023, all land border crossings are closed.

Contact information and hours of operation – Finnish Border Guard

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Russia.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: required for stays in commercial accommodations (exceptions apply) Guest visa: required for stays in private accommodations Business visa: required Student visa: required Transit visa: required (exceptions apply) Exit visa: required

You must be submitted your visa request online to the Embassy of the Russian Federation.

Foreign visitors must leave Russia once the visa validity period has ended. To extend a visa, a foreign national must arrange with the territorial units of the migration service authorities prior to the validity end date to start the extension process.

Embassy of the Russian Federation

Tourist visa

You need a tourist visa if you are staying at a hotel or other commercial establishment. Ensure that the hotel registers your visa when you check in.

It is best if you book your travel through a travel agency, which will submit a tourist visa application on your behalf. Canadian travel agents work with Russian travel agencies or companies, which act as sponsors for tourist visas.

In cases of expired tourist visas or lost or stolen Canadian passports, only the visa-sponsoring travel agency is authorized to apply for a new tourist visa on your behalf. Extensions are not issued. Holders of expired visas face heavy fines or detention upon departure.

Guest visas

You need a guest visa if you intend to stay in private accommodations. The host must obtain an official invitation (priglashenie) from the nearest Russian visa and passport office (UFMS) and send it to you in Canada. You must then take the invitation, the visa application and your passport to a Russian embassy or consulate to apply for the visa.

Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada

Business visa

To get a business visa, you need to be sponsored by a Russian individual or organization (the host). It may take up to 3 months for the host to obtain approval for sponsorship from the Ministry of the Interior. Any subsequent change (replacement or extension) to the original visa must be made by the sponsor. A business visa is not a work permit.

You must have a valid visa to be allowed to leave Russia. If your visa expires, your sponsor must apply for an exit visa on your behalf. To avoid problems, including deportation, make sure your visa is valid beyond your intended departure date.

Visa exceptions

Contact your cruise company to find out if you need to apply for a Russian visa before your cruise starts. International cruise passengers may enter Russia at specific port cities without a visa for up to 72 hours. Your cruise ship tour guide must have all the authorizations required for your entry by the Russian authorities. While in Russia, make sure that you’re able to contact your cruise ship tour guide at any time, in case of emergency or any issue with local authorities.

Some Russian international airports have transit areas that allow for visa-free travel through Russia. If you plan to transit through Russia, check with your transportation carrier to see if transit visa exceptions apply to you.

Migration card

You must complete a migration card upon your arrival in Russia. These cards are usually distributed on flights and trains entering Russia or at points of entry, but sometimes they are not available, even at major international airports. Even if that’s the case, you are responsible to find a migration card and fill it out. You must keep and carry part B of the migration card throughout your stay. The card is required for hotel registration.

If the police request to see your migration card, you must comply. You must present it, your passport and your registered visa. You must also present the card to border officials upon departure.

If you hold a multiple-entry visa, you must fill out a new migration card every time you enter Russia.

Loss of this card can result in fines, serious delays or imprisonment at the time of departure.

Registration

All foreign visitors must register their arrival within 72 hours of entering the country (excluding weekends and national holidays). If you have made accommodation arrangements with a hotel for your entire trip, the hotel will take care of registering your stay with the authorities.

Visitors staying in private accommodations must register with the territorial office of the Federal Migration Service. Any Russian citizen with a resident registration (propiska) can register a foreigner staying at their home at a local police station or any post office. A small registration fee may apply. The visitor’s host must be present during the process.

Violation of the rules of migration registration may result in a fine. In some cases, visitors may face expulsion from Russia and a ban from re-entering of up to 5 years. 

Customs declaration form

Upon arrival in Russia, you must fill out a customs declaration form, then go through the red customs line and have the form stamped by a customs official. Without the stamp, any undeclared currency and valuables—including items that could be considered antique—may be confiscated upon departure.

You must declare amounts of currency exceeding US$10,000 at border crossings. You may also have to provide information on the origin of the money and its intended use. Currency exceeding the amount stated on the declaration form will be confiscated if you have not obtained an official bank receipt authorizing the clearance of these sums. The declaration form must be kept until departure.

Upon departure, you must fill out a second customs declaration form and present the two forms to a customs official. You must declare any amount greater than RUB3,000. If you fail to declare, in writing, the amount of currency in your possession, the undeclared currency and valuables may be confiscated and you may be detained and face criminal charges leading to imprisonment.

Special permits and restricted areas

Travel to and residency in several Russian cities and regions is restricted. You must obtain permission from local authorities prior to entering a restricted city or region. Failure to do so may result in arrest, fines and/or deportation. Attach an itinerary to your visa application to avoid delays. Some areas must be specifically indicated in the visa, and you may have to pay an extra fee to include them.

Passport requirements for individuals holding both Canadian and Russian citizenships

If you have dual citizenship, you must enter and leave Russia on a Russian passport.

If your Russian passport expires prior travelling to Russia, Russian authorities in Canada can extend it for entry into Russia only. If the passport expires during your stay in Russia, you must obtain a new one before leaving. Renewing a Russian passport may take several months.

If you enter Russia with a repatriation certificate issued by Russian authorities abroad, you may not be allowed to leave on a Canadian passport. This certificate is only valid for one-way travel into Russia.

Entry ban on vehicles with Russian license plates

In September 2023, the Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) and Finland announced a ban on vehicles with Russian license plates entering their respective territories. The ban is enforced at the border as a result of existing European Union sanctions on the Russian Federation. Lithuania will allow an exception for travellers able to prove transit to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Other countries from the EU or the Schengen area have introduced similar bans. You should confirm with local authorities before travelling to the EU or Schengen area.  

Land border with Belarus

Only local residents are allowed to travel by land from Russia to Belarus. This restriction applies to cars, tour buses and trains.

Health entry requirements

If you are planning to remain in Russia for more than 3 months, you must provide a medical certificate of a negative test for HIV infection. The certificate must be valid for 3 months from the date of testing and include:

  • passport details (full name, date of birth, passport number and country of residence)
  • HIV test information (date of test, test results and signatures of the doctor who performed the test and the person examined)
  • the length of your intended stay in Russia

Other tests (such as for tuberculosis and leprosy) may be required for individuals staying in Russia for more than 3 months.

  • Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a risk in some areas of this destination. It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or occasionally when unpasteurized milk products are consumed.

Travellers to areas where TBE is found may be at higher risk  during April to November, and the risk is highest for people who hike or camp in forested areas.

Protect yourself from tick bites . The vaccine is not available in Canada. It may be available in the destination you are travelling to.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain.  It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.

Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:

  • travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
  • making multiple trips to endemic areas
  • staying for extended periods in rural areas
  • visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
  • engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin.  In some cases, it can be fatal.  It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick.  Risk is generally low for most travellers.  Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock.  There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza   is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.

Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.

Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those: 

  • visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
  • working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
  • hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
  • working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
  • working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)

All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Good health care is only available in major cities. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country. A few quality facilities exist in larger cities and usually require cash payment upon admission. Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Identification

Authorities frequently perform random identity checks in public places.

You must carry the following identification documents at all times:

  • a valid passport with 2 blank pages for stamps
  • a valid Russian visa
  • an migration card
  • a stamped registration notification

You may be fined or detained for failing to provide proper documentation to Russian authorities.

Only the special police of the Federal Migration Bureau have the authority to arrest, detain and impose fines on improperly documented foreigners. If you are stopped in the street and requested to pay a fine, ask to see the officer’s name and identification and to contact the Embassy of Canada to Russia in Moscow.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Minors participating in demonstrations

It is illegal for minors (those under 18) to participate in unauthorized protests. Adults who involve minors in such protests could face up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to RUB1 million.

Although the laws of Russia do not prohibit homosexual activity, Russian federal law prohibits public actions that are described as promoting homosexuality and “non-traditional sexual relations.”

Public actions that contravene or appear to contravene this law may lead to arrest, a fine and deportation. Examples of such actions include dissemination of information (for example, through public statements) and public displays of affection. Same sex marriage is not recognized in Russia. Homosexuality isn’t socially accepted.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Russia.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Russia, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

If you are also a Russian citizen and reside in Russia or hold permanent residency status in another country, you must declare this citizenship or residency status to your local migration office.

You may also be subject to certain legal obligations, including military service. You may be detained, imprisoned, or fined larges sums if you try to avoid military service. Seek advice from the nearest Russian embassy or consulate before travelling to Russia, or consult official sources from the Government of the Russian Federation.

  • Official information - Government of the Russian Federation  ( may not be currently available depending on your location)
  • Military mobilization - Government of the Russian Federation (may not be currently available depending on your location)
  • Requirement and consequences of non-compliance with the declaration of foreign citizenship - Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation (in Russian, may not be currently available depending on your location)
  • General information for travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Russia.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Russia by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Russia to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

  • International Child Abductions: A guide for affected parents
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Request emergency assistance

Religious activity

Religious activity is heavily regulated in Russia. If you plan to engage in religious activity, such as missionary work, make sure you are not inadvertently violating local laws.

You should carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

You may drive with a Canadian driver’s licence if you carry it and a Russian translation. You must obtain a local permit if staying longer than 6 months.

The legal blood alcohol content limit is significantly lower than in Canada. Those found guilty of drinking and driving can expect heavy fines, suspension of their driving permit and immediate detention. Repeat offenders may face prison sentences.

The traffic police can impose fines on drivers for traffic violations. They can conduct identity checks on pedestrians, but they are not authorized to impose fines. The same is true of police in the underground metro systems.

Russia has very strict rules on the importation of medication. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are common in Canada may be prohibited, and large quantities of any medicine will be scrutinized.

If you are travelling with medication, even over-the-counter medication, you must have a doctor’s note translated to Russian confirming that you need the medication. Contact the Embassy of the Russian Federation for up-to-date information.

Imports and exports

The importation and use of electronic equipment are strictly controlled. Foreigners have faced charges of espionage for possessing improperly certified GPS devices, such as those used for geological mapping.

You must obtain a certificate from the Ministry of Culture to export items that appear old (prior to 1945) or may have cultural value. Customs officials may conduct thorough baggage searches and can arrest you if you don’t have the necessary certificate.

Contact the nearest Russian embassy or consulate, or consult the Federal Customs Service prior to departure for up-to-date information on customs requirements.

The currency of Russia is the Russian ruble (RUB).

It is illegal to pay for goods and services in foreign currency. You can exchange U.S. dollars at any exchange counter. Carry new, crisp bills; well-worn or used U.S. banknotes may not be accepted. ATMs are common in main cities. ATMs will accept cards with 4-digit pin numbers, but you may experience problems with cards with 5- or 6-digit pin codes. In major cities, you can usually exchange Euros and U.S. dollars at various banks.

Forest fires

Forest fires are common between July and September, particularly in Siberia. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • follow the instructions of local emergency services
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation

Seismic activity

Parts of Russia, such as Chechnya, the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands, are prone to seismic or volcanic activity.

Spring flooding throughout Siberia and parts of western Russia.

Local services

In case of emergency, dial 112 or:

  • police: 102
  • medical assistance: 103
  • firefighters: 101

Consular assistance

Armenia (Consular and Trade Commissioner services)

For calls originating inside Russia the “7” should be replaced by an “8”.

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Moscow and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

Active Tourist

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  • Health Tourism Russia

Health Tourism Moscow

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Health tourism , as one of the oldest forms of tourism has incredibly important role in the life of modern man. Taking into account today's lifestyle and general neglect of health in the early and middle years of human life, we can describe the health tourism as the ideal combination of pleasant and useful. FIND OUR OFFER Improper diet, too little exercise, excessive stress and air pollution itself as one of the main causes of a number of diseases in human life. It is widely known that silence, spending time in nature, proper nutrition and recreation have a positive effect on human health , and I delight in life. Here comes health tourism. Sam medical tourism can be divided into three main groups; to spa, sea and air conditioning. Spa tourism, like us, and the word itself evokes, means going to the spa, and enjoy a variety of healthy and relaxing environments and activities, such as bathing in healing mud, thermo-mineral waters, naphthalene, vegetation, and walking through the paths that are surrounded beautiful diverse plant species and natural landscapes, all connected in a pleasant holiday. In addition to these relaxing activities, health tourism also includes a serene and quiet rest and a healthy diet. Often, all this can be found incorporated in one of the resorts that deals with health tourism, so as to connect the idyllic vacation, accompanied by a healthy life, really is not difficult. Marine and climatic health tourism, although similar in nature, they differ in content offering . Marine health tourism has the advantage in terms of health, because some of that relaxes as the thought of the sea, the smell of salt in the air, medicinal sea plants, clean air in marine areas, and itself a diet that is healthy rather than continental. But that would not be overshadowed'm climate health tourism, we must bear in mind that the mere change of scenery and I stay in the nature and fresh air once enough to be able to continue a normal life. In addition to the main group of health tourism, medical tourism offers a blend of natural beauty related health through several categories , such as cosmetic surgery, dermatology, medical wellness, orthopedics and dentistry. By offering these health tourism activities is becoming more competitive, and offices and resorts that offer these activities often boast excellent staff and well-equipped offices, all connected to a vacation at an affordable price.

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Health Tourism Moscow

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If You Test Positive for Covid, Can You Still Travel?

With coronavirus cases on the rise, summer travelers are once again facing difficult questions. Here’s the latest travel guidance from health experts.

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health tourism

By Shannon Sims

As new coronavirus variants gain traction across the United States, summer travelers are facing a familiar and tiresome question: How will the ever-mutating virus affect travel plans?

In light of updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the answers may be slightly different from those in previous years.

Here’s what to know about traveling this summer if you’re worried about — or think you might have — Covid-19.

What’s going on with Covid?

Recent C.D.C. data show that Covid infections are rising or most likely rising in more than 40 states. Hospitalization rates and deaths, while low compared with the peaks seen in previous years, are also on the rise.

The uptick is tied to a handful of variants — named KP.2, KP.3 and LB.1 — that now account for a majority of new cases .

At the same time, record numbers of people are traveling by car and plane.

I’d planned to travel, but I’m sick with Covid. What should I do?

In short: You should probably delay or cancel your trip.

If you tested positive or are experiencing Covid symptoms, which include fever, chills, fatigue, a cough, a runny nose, body aches and a headache, the C.D.C. recommends that you stay home and keep away from others.

According to its latest guidelines, the agency advises waiting until at least 24 hours after you are fever-free and your overall symptoms are improving before going back to normal activities, including travel.

What are the isolation rules?

New C.D.C. guidelines issued in March made significant changes to the recommended isolation period for people with Covid.

The agency now says that you can resume daily activities if you meet two requirements : You have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and your symptoms are improving overall. Previously, the agency recommended isolating for at least five days, plus a period of post-isolation precautions.

Even after your isolation period, you may still be able to spread the virus to others, which is why the C.D.C. encourages you to continue to take precautions for the next five days: Use masks, wash your hands frequently, practice physical distancing, clean your air by opening windows or purifying it, and continue testing yourself before gathering around others.

Are there any lingering testing or vaccine requirements?

Travelers no longer need to show proof of being vaccinated against Covid or take a Covid test to enter the U.S. (This applies to both U.S. citizens and noncitizens.)

The same is true in Europe and most other countries.

How can I prepare before traveling?

First, make sure you stay up-to-date with Covid vaccines .

Next, plan to bring any items that would be helpful should you become sick while traveling.

“Make sure to take a good first aid or medication kit with you,” said Vicki Sowards, the director of nursing resources for Passport Health , which provides travel medical services. Ms. Sowards recommended that your kit include medications that you usually take when you are ill, as well as Covid tests.

You may want to consider packing medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of Covid, like painkillers, cold and flu medicines, and fever reducers. Bringing along some electrolyte tablets (or powdered Gatorade) can also help if you get sick.

Ms. Sowards also suggested speaking with your physician before traveling, particularly if you’re in a vulnerable or high-risk group. Some doctors might prescribe the antiviral Paxlovid as a precautionary measure, she said, to be taken in the event of a Covid infection.

How can I stay safe while traveling?

Wearing a mask on a plane or in crowded areas is still a good idea, said Ms. Sowards. Covid is spread through airborne particles and droplets, “so protecting yourself is paramount, especially if you are immunocompromised or have chronic health conditions.”

If you do get sick, start wearing a mask and using over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or joint aches, Ms. Sowards advised.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

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Tourists are feeling the heat—and their bodies may not be able to catch up

By Kiley Price / Inside Climate News

Posted on Jul 10, 2024 10:26 AM EDT

6 minute read

This article originally appeared on Inside Climate News , a nonprofit, independent news organization that covers climate, energy and the environment. It is republished with permission. Sign up for their newsletter  here . 

Throughout June,  six tourists died  while visiting Greece during an unusually early summer heat wave. While these cases are still being investigated, authorities say that heat stress likely played a part in each of their deaths, as temperatures soared over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Heat-related deaths are increasingly common with climate change, and high temperatures could pose a particular risk to tourists, who are often both mentally and physically unprepared for the heat they may encounter in a new place, experts say. 

As tourist tragedies stack up in warming regions around the world—from  southwest Texas  to the  Australian Outback —health officials are urging visitors to change their behavior to beat the heat. But a sea change might already be happening in the tourism industry: A growing number of people are opting for “coolcations” instead of tropical getaways, which could have far-reaching economic impacts for some areas. 

Visiting heat

A number of factors contribute to  how an individual tolerates heat , including their gender, age and if they have an illness such as heart disease or diabetes. 

Their ability to beat the heat can also depend on where they live and the typical temperatures they are used to. If someone is consistently exposed to high temperatures or humidity, their body adjusts at a physiological level, a process known as acclimatization. These minor changes can include increased sweating efficiency, stabilization of blood circulation and increased blood flow to the skin,  according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . 

Essentially, that means a person from Phoenix, a city that is consistently hot, might have a higher heat tolerance than a person from the chilly New England city of Providence when they are confronted with a 100-degree day (even though they are technically experiencing the same temperature). That also means that a tourist  visiting  Phoenix from Providence could face higher health threats from heat than a resident—at least at first.

“It takes at least 1-2 weeks to acclimatize to heat stress. That means, a tourist who lives in a cooler climate and travels for a week-long vacation to a warmer climate or area experiencing a heat wave won’t have time to acclimatize during their time in the warm area,” Alisa Hass, a geographer at Middle Tennessee State University who studies climate impacts, told me over email. 

Certain health conditions such as obesity or diabetes could impair a person’s ability to acclimatize, according to a  2023 study  that analyzed the increasing threat for travelers to hot climate destinations. A lack of heat acclimatization may have played a role in the deaths of the tourists in Greece, Christos Giannaros, a heat expert at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,  told The Associated Press . 

Compounding the problem, several vacation-related tendencies can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses, including drinking less water, consuming alcohol and sleeping less due to jet lag. Heat is even deadlier when coupled with strenuous outdoor activities common on vacation such as hiking. Last year, at least seven visitors at national parks across the U.S. died of heat-related illnesses from June to the end of July—a trend that is only going to get worse as climate change accelerates,  CNN reports . 

Chasing the heat or coolcationing? 

On Sunday, temperatures in California’s Death Valley reached 129 degrees Fahrenheit, just around 20 degrees shy of the heat required to fry an egg. 

Yet tourists still poured into the desert valley despite the deadly heat—or in some cases, because of it. 

“I was excited it was going to be this hot,” Drew Belt, a visitor from Tupelo, Mississippi,  told The Associated Press . “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kind of like walking on Mars.”

However, extreme heat is not working in the favor of most top summer tourism destinations,  Fast Company reports . After Europe’s 2023 summer heat weave, the European Travel Commission noted a 7 percent uptick in expressions of concern about climate change from European travelers. Experts say this concern could be part of the reason tourists have shifted their travel patterns in recent years. 

“Tourists are starting to travel to cooler locations, rather than warm climates like southern Italy and Greece, to avoid the heat,” Hass told me. “This is placing a heavy burden on communities where tourism is a large part of their economic base.” 

While tourism dips in some hot destinations, chilly countries such as Norway and Iceland have seen a rise in visitors during the summer months—a trend dubbed “coolcationing,” which Condé Nast Traveler  named  one of the “biggest travel trends to expect in 2024.” 

But some experts are not yet certain that change will stick and are urging countries with warm tourist destinations to help visitors prepare for the heat. One strategy: shifting popular events to different months. For example, in 2022, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) rescheduled the World Cup from the summer to November and December due to Qatar’s extreme heat, a first in the tournament’s 89 years.

Additionally, tourism-focused industries such as hotels or resorts must raise awareness of health risks by ramping up communications around heat, whether through advisories or a simple informational flier at breakfast,  Andreas Matzarakis  told me. He’s a professor at the University of Freiburg in Germany who studies how humans interact with the environment, including the intersection of climate change and tourism.  

However, he added that tourists themselves should also try to prepare for the heat they might face during vacation by staying indoors during peak heat and keeping hydrated. 

“You’re going for holidays, you will not have stress, you want to enjoy several things, but you have to keep in mind the things that you have to avoid, [including] extreme heat,” Matzarakis said. 

More top climate news 

Along with facing the impacts of climate change, some top tourist destinations are implementing strategies to prevent it from getting worse. Beginning July 15,  tourists visiting Copenhagen will be given free access to museum tours, kayak rentals and more  if they demonstrate climate-friendly behavior, such as cycling or cleaning up trash,  reports The New York Times . 

On the stick end of the carrot-and-stick spectrum, the Hawaii legislature is considering a bill that would  impose a $25 climate tax on tourists . Gov. Josh Green estimates it could bring in about $68 million annually for causes such as wildfire and flood prevention or coral reef restoration. 

Meanwhile,  Hurricane Beryl  whipped through Texas on Monday , killing at least eight people and knocking out power to nearly 3 million homes and businesses,  BBC News reports . The tropical storm, which previously tore through the Caribbean, knocked down 10 transmission lines. Officials say it could take several days to put the power back on. 

In other news, the Key Largo tree cactus is extinct in Florida, in what  researchers say  is  the first local extinction of a species caused by sea-level rise in the U.S.  Though scattered plots of this prickly plant still grow in the Caribbean, the species has been battered by saltwater intrusion, hurricanes and mammals munching on it in Florida in the past few decades—representing a “bellwether for how other low-lying coastal plants will respond to climate change,” said botanist Jennifer Possley, lead author on a study published today that documents the population’s decline.

Latest in Weather

Taking a train during a heat wave watch out for ‘sun kinks’ taking a train during a heat wave watch out for ‘sun kinks’.

By Matt Simon / Grist

How does hail grow to the size of golf balls and even grapefruit? How does hail grow to the size of golf balls and even grapefruit?

By Brian Tang / The Conversation

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‘West Watching With Jealousy’: Kremlin On US-Led NATO As Modi-Putin Meet In Moscow

Posted: July 8, 2024 | Last updated: July 8, 2024

In a statement ahead of his departure to Moscow, Modi noted that ties between the two countries have advanced over the past decade, including in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges. “I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues,” he said. “We seek to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region. The visit will also provide me an opportunity to meet the vibrant Indian community in Russia.” #ModiPutinSummit #Geopolitics #IndiaRussiaRelations #ModiInMoscow #KremlinWatch #USNATOJealousy #GlobalDiplomacy #BilateralTalks #StrategicPartnership #DefenseCooperation #EnergySecurity #TradeInvestment #WorldPolitics #WesternScrutiny #PeacefulRegion

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Nearly half of U.S. counties don't have a single cardiologist

Stethoscope in doctors white pocket

Millions of Americans likely to develop and die from heart disease live in cardiology deserts — areas of the country without a single heart specialist to care for them.

New research published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that nearly half of all counties in the U.S. lack a practicing cardiologist.

Most of those counties are rural, with residents who tend to be sicker in general with complex medical problems.

“The counties that do not have cardiologists probably need this type of specialty care even more,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Haider Warraich, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

People living in those counties “have a much higher prevalence of the entire spectrum of cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” he said.

Warraich’s study, conducted in partnership with the web-based pharmacy GoodRx, found that of the 3,143 counties in the U.S., 46.3% don't have a cardiologist. Most of those, 86.2%, are rural counties with lower income levels, less access to healthy food and fewer health care providers overall .

And though heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer , people living in rural areas are dying earlier and more often from heart disease that could've been prevented, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published in May.

“We’ve got small towns with high health needs and the inability to seek care,” said Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of the National Rural Health Association.

Counties with cardiologists have an average of 24 of the specialists, the new report found.

But 10% have just one cardiologist for the entire county.

It was this experience that fueled Warraich’s interest in studying cardiovascular disparities. Before he took his job in Boston in 2019, he was the only cardiologist practicing in Randolph County, North Carolina, population 146,043 .

“I had no backup. I had no colleague I could call,” he said. “I remember just knowing that the people who I was seeing had nowhere else to turn, that they were entirely dependent on me to be at my best.”

Warraich’s data shows that Randolph County now has five cardiologists.

A 'workable solution'

Living in a cardiology desert usually means having to travel farther for specialty heart care.

The new research found that people in counties with a cardiologist drive an average of 16 miles round trip for an appointment, compared to an 87-mile round trip, on average, for people without a local cardiologist.

“That’s actually pretty good for a lot of our patients,” said Dr. John Wagener, a structural interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “We have people who live three, four hours away to come to see us.”

Wagener and a team of about 20 Avera Health cardiologists cover 86 counties in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Patients either drive for in-person appointments or, increasingly, see their cardiologists through telemedicine.

Wagener said his team also offers consultation with a vast number of both independent providers and those within the Avera Health network.

“I’m constantly talking with primary care physicians, nurse practitioners or physicians assistants who are managing our local emergency departments, critical care access facilities, urgent cares and primary care facilities,” Wagener said. “They can not only ask us questions, but they can upload EKGs and telemetry reports [which look at heart rhythms] so we can give them the best guidance as we can.”

Dr. Steve Ommen, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said it’s not necessarily the number of miles people have to travel for appointments that prevents them from getting the care they need.

“For people who have bad hips or bad backs, sometimes it’s just a problem of getting out of the house,” Ommen, also the medical director at Mayo’s Center for Digital Health, said. In those cases, “remote care can be the great equalizer.”

Indeed, Morgan of the National Rural Health Association said that treating patients virtually is a “workable solution moving forward.”

“This highlights the critical importance of expanding broadband in these communities and ensuring that we have enough telehealth platforms,” Morgan said. “We are never going to be able to get a sufficient number of cardiologists practicing in small towns across the U.S.”

health tourism

Erika Edwards is a health and medical news writer and reporter for NBC News and "TODAY."

Alaska considers new limits for cruise ship visitors in this popular port city

The visitor limit agreement would go into effect in 2026.

The pristine natural beauty of Alaska boasts breathtaking landscapes with vast national parks, glaciers and 6,640 miles of coastline that makes the destination particularly popular for cruises.

Now, the capital port city of Juneau, where crowds have been sailing in in record numbers, is considering a limit on large cruise ships with 250 passengers or more that would cap the number of daily visitors starting in 2026 to help combat overtourism.

New agreement in Alaska to limit cruise ship visitors

health tourism

Last month, cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian signed an agreement with Juneau tourism officials to help manage the thousands of passengers getting off the boats at the same time and visiting the area.

While the numbers are subject to change, Sundays through Fridays, cruise crowds are expected to be capped at 16,000. That number will be limited to 12,000 on Saturdays.

The new agreement expands on last year's decision to implement a limit of five cruise ships per day in Juneau.

health tourism

Juneau is home to some amazing outdoor attractions, such as whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier, but some local residents said they've had enough of the post-pandemic crowds.

"I personally came to the realization that Alaska was being sold as a friendly place and that my friendliness was a commodity for the cruise lines," resident Karla Hart told ABC News. "The idea is just one day every week to just take a pause -- to have our community back."

In 2023, a record 1.6 million cruise passengers visited Juneau, including Sarah Grathwohlwent, who was there for the first time earlier this spring and documented her journey on social media.

"It was beautiful to go and see a glacier -- was my first one," she said. "I'm not against limiting the amount of cruise ships, I think it would make it nicer for the locals who live there year round."

Overtourism around the world prompts new crowd management systems

health tourism

Scott Keyes, travel expert and founder of Going.com, said that the challenges of overtourism are not isolated to Juneau.

"We have been setting new travel records every month so far in 2024, and there's no reason to think that's going to stop," he told ABC News.

In the U.S., Mount Rainier is among the National Parks that have begun implementing timed entry reservations to help manage large crowds. In Europe, hotspot destinations like Venice and Barcelona have implemented day trip fees for visitors .

Over the weekend in Barcelona, thousands of locals protested in the streets with water guns to take a stand against tourism, which they say has resulted in a higher cost of living for residents.

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Due to increased demand in Athens, Greece, the city is also studying limits on tourist capacity.

Experts believe that as more destinations see surges in visitors, local officials may implement restrictions to deal with crowds diplomatically.

"I'm all in favor of steps taken to try to make sure you're managing that properly and respecting the local environment and everything," Keyes said.

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WTOP News

How to spot fake passport websites

Sandra Jones | [email protected]

July 10, 2024, 5:45 AM

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Do you wait until the last minute to apply for or renew your passport? That’s exactly what scammers are expecting.

Passport scams are common during peak travel seasons, and it’s essential to use the official websites for passport services.

The Federal Trade Commission has some tips to help protect you from being a victim if you’re searching online to get a new or updated passport.

“They may use a flag or a seal that looks really official. However, they’re fake websites,” said Gema de las Heras, consumer education specialist with the FTC, adding that scammers will pretend to be affiliated with the federal government.

“If people are doing searches online, the other thing that they may see pop up are these fake websites that are set up by scammers with similar names to the Department of State or using official-looking seals and pretending to be affiliated with the government,” de las Heras said.

In some cases, scammers are trying to get your personal information.

“They also charge a fee going anywhere from $60 to a few hundred dollars, and this is on top of what people have to pay to get their passport,” de las Heras said.

She said the U.S. Department of State is the only government agency that legitimately handles passport services, and you can set up an appointment for free if you need a passport right away.

“If you pay those (fraudulent) websites, you might end up losing your money because you might not still get a passport. And then you might be giving your information to scammers that then turn it around and sell it to identity thieves,” she added.

You can visit the State Department’s website for passport services. You can report any fake passport websites to the Department of State at [email protected].

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here .

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Sandra Jones is an Anchor/Reporter for WTOP. She’s been in the news industry for more than two decades.

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