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What is really happening on the Russian medical tourism market?

What is really happening on the Russian medical tourism market? ( Russia continues to be prominent in the news and the media frenzy makes it difficult to differentiate between myth and reality.

Russia has come far since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 experiencing continued economic growth, especially recently based on high oil prices. This has created a vast ‘middle affluent class’ of people with minimal costs and disposable income. It has not all been easy and there have been crisis in the past and more will come in the future. However people learn from each situation and look forward.

The headlines have screamed that Russians will not be able to travel due to the devaluation of the Rouble, what they don’t report is that a majority of moneyed people keep their money in hard currency or in banks abroad. Therefore there are minimal effects in this sector from currency fluctuations.

During the height of the currency situation, we conducted a mini-survey amongst some of our respondents at the last Moscow MedShow in September. Whilst all noted that the situation is of concern, none indicated that it affects their personal lives or will change their plans, “We will just use our US$ or Euro credit cards” – being one of the regular answers.

Viacheslav B described the situation perfectly “Good treatment in Russian hospitals is already costly and will increase as equipment and medicines become more expensive therefore I will continue with my plans to look abroad for the treatment that I require.”

Medical Tourism from Russia is now estimated to be more than US$.1 billion per year with more than 70,000 affluent Russian patients travelling abroad for treatment each year. Specialised clinics and service providers can meet with potential clients at the bi-annual Moscow Medshows, the premier B2C medical tourism exhibitions in Russia. The next Moscow MedShow takes place 27-28 February in central Moscow. Further details at


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