Aesthetic tourism is an ugly business, to coin a bad joke; of course, that is only my opinion. It is all part of the middle-class quest to live and look like celebrities and the very wealthy. Aesthetic tourism (god knows who came up with that moniker) is travel motivated by destinations offering cheaper cosmetic surgery, in the main. Most usually, these are countries located closer to the third world than the developed nations. Asia and South America are continents commonly visited by tourists seeking cheaper medical procedures, hopefully carried out by competent medical professionals.

Aesthetic Tourism: Top World Destinations

Stories abound about people journeying in search of a smaller nose and returning minus their looks and health. One of the things that makes medicine much more expensive in the west is all that medical insurance. Medical tourism involves putting your trust in the hands of cosmetic surgery trapeze artists without the safety net. Getting your teeth fixed, capped and whatever else in Thailand, may be considerably cheaper than your local dentist, but if things go wrong I know where I would rather be. Australia has some of the best dentists in the world, and the great majority of dentists are extremely well trained and equipped.

The bargain hunter will always seek to bag big game in the exotic realms of places heavily populated with poor people and loads of corruption. They will employ tunnel vision or blinkers to focus on their own needs and be blind to the overall injustice happening in that country. Tourism of all sorts feeds in lands like this, with relatively wealthy westerners swanning about amid the poverty and declaring, “isn’t it charming!” It takes great ignorance, on their part, to look the locals in the eye and smile with benign insensitivity at their circumstances.

Aesthetic tourism is not travelling to distant lands to look at beautiful things. It is travelling blind to these places, with only a concern for what they hope to see superficially in the mirror. It reminds me of the evil queen in the Snow White story, asking, “who is the fairest in the land?” Even that name sounds suspiciously racist to my adult ears. In the twenty first century the evil queen and Snow White would be getting boob jobs done in Cuba and India. Their smiles would be whiter than white; and all that dentistry happened in the Cayman Islands or Malaysia, I am sure.