Each year, millions of travellers leave their country of residence seeking healthcare in other countries. This kind of travel for healthcare is expected to increase as more and more countries become involved in the medical tourism industry.

Travel for medical purposes dates back to ancient Greece, where people would travel temple of Asclepius, the Greco-Roman god of medicine. Occurring thereafter throughout history, medical travel included travel to places such as Bath and Vichy by patients seeking treatment for various medical conditions.

In the modern era, the decision to seek medical care in another country is typically influenced by costs, privacy concerns, medical restrictions, and the appeal of the destination country, which can include the tourist attractions available, in addition to the quality of healthcare that can be provided in the destination country.

These days medical tourism refers not only to those seeking specific procedures outside of their country of residence, but also encompasses medical treatment sought by people already touring or visiting, who find themselves needing either acute medical care while they are travelling, or need to continue with maintenance care of ongoing medical conditions while they are outside their country of residence.