(GOOD NEWS FROM FINLAND) Finland’s health-care services are particularly popular among Russians. Although demand has grown immensely in the past few years, the available offering is still in its infancy. The markets are expected to triple in size by the year 2020.
“Demand for health-care services is growing alongside the rise in visitors to Finland. The overall volumes, however, are still relatively small. Last year some 12 000 travellers spent money on medical services or medication”, says Marco Roth, Development Manager in charge of the Health and Well-being Cluster at FinnMedi Oy.
A more active approach to marketing the services is also helping to increase health-care tourism. Doing its part to boost the business is the portal www.healthcarefinland.ru, which is helping more and more Russians to find Finnish speciality health-care services.
Quality is key
According to Roth, it makes sense to launch health-care travel in the Russian market due to the high potential that exists there and because of the good traffic connections to Finland’s major cities. Health-care visitors to Finland are particularly interested in diagnostic services, fertility treatment and perinatal care, as well as dental care. Other areas of interest are oncology, cardiac and vascular diseases, bone and orthopaedic surgery as well as rehabilitation.
“Russian health-care travellers choose Finland for the high quality and safety and competitive price level of the country’s health-care services. In addition to geographical proximity, the short waiting time to receive treatment is also a factor. It is common today for health-care facilities to offer service in Russian”, says Roth.
A number of service providers also arrange accommodation for their customers. Norlandia Care in Tampere, for example, is a patient hotel with 130 rooms located near the city’s major health-care providers. The hotel has received positive feedback from its Russian customers for the high-quality rooms and multilingual staff.
In 2011, Russians visited Finland an estimated four million times. This amount of travel injected some EUR 890 million into the country. Product purchases accounted for EUR 670 million of that amount and services for EUR 220 million. Around EUR 15 million of the total amount can be attributed to health-care travellers. That amount is growing fast.
“The health-care services market will triple before 2020”, Roth estimates.
The growth in demand has also been seen in South Karelia’s social and health-care spheres.
“The hospital’s specialists and directors have received an increasing number of email enquiries”, says Markku Hupli, Director of Health Services. “High quality and a reasonable price level are the draws. The most in-demand services are cancer treatment, perinatal services, surgery and dental care. This is a very significant business that is experiencing the same kind of exponential growth as trade.”