The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Geography - Tourism Planning and Development: M.S.


Geography and Planning


School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Hung-Chih 'Alvin' Yu

Second Advisor

Mikhail Blinnikov

Third Advisor

Mana Komai

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Medical Tourism, Decision-making Process, Motivation


The growing medical tourism industry attracts international patients who decide to have their medical treatment performed at international hospitals. This exploratory research aims to determine the main factors that influence American medical tourists’ decision-making process about travelling overseas in order to access medical services.

The results of this qualitative study, which interviewed 12 participants, suggest that cost, advanced technology, high quality services, and accreditation are main motives that encourage medical tourists to obtain medical treatment outside their origin of country. On the other hand, the pull factors of the decision-making process in medical tourism is grouped to define primary risks contain lack of malpractice law, infection, difficulties in communication, and the follow-up care. The findings of this study might provide significant information for academic studies, prospective medical tourists, and policy makers, providers of health-related services, and tourism organizations in both local and destination countries.


I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to my advisor and chairperson of committee, Dr. Hung-Chih 'Alvin' Yu, who has been extremely supportive, enthusiastic, resourceful and knowledgeable in the completion of my thesis. Not only did he encourage, enlighten and inspire me for my research study, but also encouraged my personal growth through the process of this research.

I would like to thank my committee member, Dr. Mikhail Blinnikov, without his support and help throughout my study this research would never have come to fruition. His continuous encouragements and inspiration led me to the research of this topic. He built my fundamental knowledge with regards to research methods, which helped develop this research.

A special thank you goes to Dr. Mana Komai, a friend and guide on whom I have always been able to count, both professionally and personally. Her suggestions and comments to my research were critical and constructive. Her insightful recommendations and guidance helped me to shape this research in a productive way for future researchers.

Finally, I would like to thank all the participants in this research. Without their participation, it was impossible to accomplish this research.