Warsaw is a renowned tourist destination. Combining the shimmering lights of late modernity with the historic medieval and mannerism architecture of the Old Town, Warsaw has so much to offer tourists of all ages and nationalities. For instance, the city is a vibrant cultural centre, especially when it comes to music. No less should be expected from the city where Chopin first studied and played! Warsaw also boasts the resplendent Palace of Culture and Science, for instance, which is also Poland’s tallest building. The Chopin Museum, the Centre for Contemporary Art, and the quirky Museum of the Motor Car are just a few examples of the many parts of Warsaw that are popular with tourists.
However, increasingly in the present age, a new kind of tourism has been hitting Warsaw. People from other countries have, in larger and larger numbers, been flocking to the city in order to get medical treatment. This is known as ‘medical tourism’ and is part of a growing trend of people travelling large distances in order to get medical treatment in Poland.
This culture of medical tourism in Warsaw is not unwelcome. The Polish healthcare industry is actively inviting foreign nationals to visit Warsaw and other areas of Poland for medical treatments. Medical tourism has been claimed to be appreciably boosting the Polish economy, as well as stimulating growth in more traditional areas of tourism. Whilst visiting Warsaw, medical tourists are often encouraged to visit the city’s other attractions as well, such as the museums and historical architectural feats mentioned above.
Medical tourism in Warsaw occurs for many reasons, indeed it may be fair to say that no two medical tourists are alike. Some medical tourists travel to Poland in order to experience deluxe spas and massage parlours, and other treatments for enhancing well being often combining this experience with visits to the cultural attractions of Warsaw. This type of medical tourism is integrated with a relaxing holiday, and is motivated by an ethic of leisure and self-indulgence. Other types of medical tourist, however, travel to Warsaw because they have a particularly serious medical condition that they are seeking specialized medical treatment for.
A shorter waiting list, an ostensibly superior doctor or specialist, or better equipment, in Warsaw than in their home country, are key motivations for these kinds of medical tourist. Medical tourists travel to Warsaw for many different types of treatment, then, from luxury health experiences, to discreet plastic surgery, to liver transplants. Though the Polish state healthcare system is open only to Polish nationals, and to residents who have obtained official approval, websites have sprung up explicitly offering health tourism opportunities in the private healthcare sector. Health tourism in Warsaw can surely be anticipated to continue to grow, and, with it, more traditional types of tourism are also likely to boom.