The war of words....Is it medical tourism or medical travel?

I just read Constantine Constantinides informative and latest missive on medical tourism. Constantine runs Healthcare Cybernetics and is one of the "wise heads" of medical tourism.
Constantine says:

"I am getting fed up with industry newcomers (the “Johnny-come-latelys”), industry outsiders and the self-important upstarts who take issue with the word Tourism – claiming it is not “grand” enough for them to be associated with.They propose replacing it with the word “Travel”. Some even suggest we dump everything and start talking of Global Health (as if healthcare has not been global for ages).......I do not like the “tourism” word – but neither do I like the several suggested alternatives"

He makes some interesting points:

"The word Tourism is derived from Tour - from Anglo-French tur, tourn turning, circuit – a there and back journey.Travel may not include a “back”.

So, here's my two pennyworth (English idiom!).

Let's start with Google's view. Why? Because Google reflects the way that people use words.

I did a search on Google UK for various terms:
  • A search for medical tourism generated 19,700,000 results. (Our Treatment Abroad and related web sites secure three of the top ten positions. A pat on the back for our search engine optimisation team!)

  • A search for medical travel generated 73,300,000 results.

  • A search for health tourism generated 36,600,000 results.(Treatment Abroad is no 2 for this search. Another pat on the back for SEO.)

  • A search for health travel generated 250,000,000 results. A search for global health generated 133,000,000 results.
But we probably need to be a bit more specific. By putting the phrase in quotes e.g. "medical tourism", Google only returns results for the exact phrase:

  • "medical tourism" generated 5,290,000 results.

  • "medical travel" generated 443,000 results.

  • "health tourism" generated 798,000 results.

  • "health travel" generated 505,000 results.

  • "global health" generated 3,220,000 results

The previous analysis tells you what words and phrases are most frequently used on web sites indexed by Google. But what terms do people use when searching? Here's another analysis. This time we look at the average monthly search volumes on Google worldwide:

  • medical tourism - 90,500 searches per month
  • health tourism - 14,800 searches per month
  • health travel - 165,000 searches per month
  • global health - 135,000 searches per month

And the winner is?

It's probably medical tourism....

Why? Because it's the phrase that's in common usage, whether we like it or not. It's what the media use when they write about the industry. It's what the man on the Clapham omnibus would probably say. Is it the best phrase to use? Probably not.

I prefer medical travel!