Jordan completes two day Medical Tourism conference

Deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah, Prime Minister Hani Mulqi Saturday opened the Global Healthcare Travel Forum under the theme “Globalization of Healthcare”, which is organised by the Private Hospitals Association in cooperation with the Global Healthcare Travel Council (GHTC), currently headed by Jordan.

The opening ceremony was attended by HH Princess Ghaida Talal, chairperson of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, and HH Princess Dina Mired, President of the Union for International Cancer Control, as well as ministers, parliament members, heads of diplomatic missions and hospital directors.

The three-day gathering of more than 500 sector representatives from about 40 countries aims to highlight Jordan as a premium global healthcare travel hub and a key destination for many Arab and foreign nationals.

In opening remarks, Mulki conveyed the King’s wishes to the conference to achieve the aspired-for goals, stressing medical tourism, not only as a healthcare sector, but a key contributor to the national economy and to many other sectors.

He said the Kingdom had built an integrated healthcare system, which was second to none, through investment in national human resources and continued cooperation between the Health Ministry, Royal Medical Services and university and private hospitals. Over the last decades, Mulki pointed out, the Kingdom had become a role model with tremendous achievements in the various sectors, namely healthcare, which had made major leaps despite limited resources and the difficult conditions in the region.

Jordan, he said, had maintained its stability and resilience as it weathered the wars and catastrophes surrounding it, forged ahead with comprehensive political, economic and social reforms and made long strides to become a bright spot that won it admiration by all.

The prime minister commended the “noble services by our doctors and hospitals to Jordanian and Arab and foreign patients”, and hailed the Private Hospitals Association for marketing the Kingdom as a distinguished healthcare and medical travel destination at global forums.

He pledged to take down all barriers and take various measures to promote the country’s healthcare status, support investment, expand the health sector and sign international agreements in that respect in order to build on achievements. HH Princess Ghaida said that, thanks to its Hashemite leadership’s vision of development and modernisation, Jordan had become a leading healthcare model, stressing the need to upgrade medical service to patients and maintain excellence.

She said that the Al Hussein Cancer Centre had in 15 years gained the most important international accreditations as a specialised cancer treatment facility offering treatment to patients from Jordan and Arab countries according to the highest international standards.

Minister of Health Mahmoud Sheyab said the health sector, which had the direct support of His Majesty King Abdullah, had in the last years made quantum leaps that gained it its reputation at the local, regional and international levels. He noted the highly-qualified human resources, internationally-accredited hospitals and medical centres and their low-cost treatment.

The minister said the medical accountability legislation is in the process for endorsement by parliament.

Private Hospital Association and GHTC president, Fawzi Al-Hammouri, said healthcare travel is a key economic sector, noting that studies pointed that medical tourism around the world accounts for over $100 billion annually with a growth rate of 5 per cent, which prompted more world nations to endeavour to become healthcare destinations.

“We look through hosting and organising this forum in Amman to put the spotlight on the enormous potentials and the many qualities of the Jordanian medical sector”, said Hamouri, noting the Kingdom’s qualified medical and nursing cadres and its friendly investment climate which encourages investment in the private hospital sector, which accounts for 60 per cent of the county’s hospitals.

The Global Healthcare Travel Forum’s agenda includes a host of topics, including global medical tourism destinations, legislations, regulations and accreditation, buyers and patients perspective, excellence in medical care and medical tourism education and research, medical tourism marketing and branding and expanding the scope of healthcare travel.

South Korea Medical Tourism Market to reach $2 billion

South Korea Medical Tourism Market is likely to reach nearly USD 2 Billion by the year end of 2022 growing at a CAGR of around 15% from 2017 to 2022.

Market growth can be attributed to factors such as technologically advanced treatments and medical procedures, pioneer in plastic/cosmetic surgery and dentistry, excellent medical practitioners & medical facilities, affordable medical costs and strong government support and initiatives.

Chinese medical tourists play a significant role in contributing revenue to the South Korea economy. China contributed more than 35% share in 2016. China is likely to maintain dominance in South Korea Medical Tourism revenue share by the year end of 2022. Other countries such as Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan and UAE emerge as the largest revenue generators in the South Korea Medical Tourism Market.

5 reasons travel is good for health

Americans are forfeiting their vacation days, despite the stress, anxiety and other negative effects of not taking time off from work. In fact, a report by Project: Time Off, shows U.S. employees took about 16 vacation days in 2013, down from about 20 in 2000. Apart from depriving yourself the chance to enhance your productivity and work performance, avoiding taking a break can lead to stress overload and other potentially damaging effects on your health, experts say.

After all, vacations offers the chance to relax and restore overall well-being. But simply taking a hiatus from your demanding workday schedule isn’t enough. Traveling somewhere new can enable you to immerse yourself in new surroundings, boost your brain power and fully recharge. With this in mind, here are five reasons why traveling is smart for the mind, body and soul and expert tips for making the most out of your vacation days to rejuvenate and ensure a stress-free getaway.

You’ll Recharge Emotionally and Increase Empathy

According to Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do” vacationing – especially near the water – can help us reset our emotions and actually increase compassion. “Often associated with feelings of awe and wonder, water can boost our empathy and compassion, our connection to ourselves and those we are with, and for many — from musicians like Pharrell Williams to neurologists like Oliver Sacks – it’s a steady source of creativity and insight,” he says.

You’ll Get Back in Shape

While some may not describe vacations as an opportunity to escalate their fitness routines, travelers may be more active than sitting in an office chair all day. Tourists may walk as much as ten miles a day while sightseeing in Europe or visiting Disney World. Travelers may also be more inclined to try new activities while in a new place, like paddleboarding or hiking. There are also fitness-centric resorts that encourage guests to get fit and try new workouts to boost physical and mental health away from home.

You’ll Engage in New Surroundings and Eliminate Stress

Traveling has many advantages, with stress relief topping the list, according to Dr. Margaret J. King, the director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, a think tank focused on the ideas, products and ideas that drive consumer decisions. ‘There are lots of psychological benefits from change of venue from home and work to ‘third places’ devoted to just experiencing the environment. With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome. Humans thrive on novelty, and travel offers the complete package with new faces, sounds and sights,” she says.

You’ll Wind Down and Rest Up

Little sleep mixed with high stress can lead to irritability and negative consequences on your cognitive performance and efficiency. Max Hirshkowitz, chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation says a vacation is a great opportunity to catch up on sleep. To feel more energized, the NSF recommends at least seven hours of sleep per night for adults. “Reserve that time,” he says. “Make it an important thing you need.”

You’ll Boost Your Mood

Many studies suggest that travel can improve our emotional state. A 2014 survey conducted by Diamond Resorts International found over three-quarters of respondents reported feeling happier when they planned a trip at least once a year. Dr. Leigh Vinocur, a certified physician and spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians, isn’t surprised by the findings. “It’s hard to sit on a beautiful beach somewhere and ruminate about paperwork or deadlines. That is why over three-quarters of respondents to the Diamond Resorts International survey reported feeling happier when they regularly vacationed. Periodic and regular vacations while taking time for yourself and your family lowers your stress level and decreases the release of all those stress hormones that contribute to degrading our mental and physical health,” she says. Plus, studies show reminiscing about pleasant vacation memories may trigger happiness long after your trip.

Top 20 Wellness Markets in the World

Top 20 Wellness Tourism Markets in 2015

Rank Country Number of Trip (millions) Direct Employement (millions) Expenditures (U.S. $ billions)
1 U.S. 161.2 1.87 $202.20
2 Germany 58.5 1.11 $60.20
3 France 30.6 0.32 $30.20
4 China 48.2 2.37 $29.50
5 Japan 37.8 0.18 $19.80
6 Austria 14.6 0.16 $15.40
7 Canada 25.3 0.25 $13.50
8 UK 20.6 0.18 $13.00
9 Italy 6.6 0.15 $12.70
10 Mexico 15.3 0.48 $12.60
11 Switzerland 9.2 0.1 $12.20
12 India 38.6 5.32 $11.80
13 Thailand 9.7 0.5 $9.40
14 Australia 8.5 0.1 $8.20
15 Spain 13.6 0.08 $7.70
16 South Korea 18 0.13 $6.80
17 Indonesia 5.6 0.52 $5.30
18 Turkey 9.3 0.06 $4.80
19 Russia 13.5 0.15 $3.50
20 Brazil 8.6 0.12 $3.30


Goa struggling to become Medical Tourism Destination

The ex-president of Goa Travel and Tourism Association, Francisco Braganca, on Saturday said foreign tourist arrivals have become stagnant in the State over the last few years.

Speaking at the annual forum Difficult Dialogues’ ‘Medical Tourism in Goa’ session, at the International Centre Goa, Mr. Braganca said the State is now relying on domestic tourists.

Only 25% foreign tourists

He said that of over 4 million tourists, only 0.5 million are foreigners. “We hardly get 25.30% of western tourists. Tourists from Nepal and Bangaldesh will not add value to tourism.” He said it was upto the medical tourism sector to attract international tourists.

‘Doctors reluctant to shift’

Victor Albuquerque of Victor Group of Hospitality and Hospitals said Goa will never be a medical tourism destination as doctors from the country are reluctant to settle in the State.

He said, “Goa, according to my experience, is not a place for medical tourism. Medicine today has become a business, and reputed doctors have become commercial minded… they are not interested to settle down and work in hospitals here.”

Maharashtra wants to top Medical Tourism

The Maharashtra state tourism department is focusing seriously on medical tourism and newer avenues such as fort-tourism. The state government’s top bureaucrat overseeing culture and tourism thinks medical tourism will double in two years and thereby become a formidable source of revenue.

Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture with government of Maharashtra, thinks medical tourism will provide a new revenue channel for the state. She finds that the state has a great opportunity to improve upon visitor count in 2 years. “Medical tourism is possible. Thanks to the new relaxation in the e-medical visas segment, we hope that we can increase tourist-count from 2 lakhs to 5 lakhs in 2 years. To achieve this we are planning medical focused roadshows in many parts of the world.”

A CII-Grant Thornton Whitepaper as early as 2015 had predicted Indian medical tourism sector would grow to $8 bn. India would be the fastest growing sector in medical tourism after Thailand. In India, the state of Kerala observed the fastest growth at a CAGR of 20%. But by attracting only 5% of medical tourists, the advantage was picked by other states such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, NCR and Andhra Pradesh. Although Maharashtra has good infrastructure in place, getting more clients would mean better focus on marketing and promotions.

Bangladesh which incidentally sends the largest number of tourists to India will be the focus of the department. In fact, the Tourism secretary’s department has a mandate to participate in a minimum of 3 roadshows through the first quarter of CY 2017. She quips, “There is a medical expo in Bangladesh that we are focusing on. I wish we could take part as a single delegation instead of sending different parties. Then there are expos in Russia in July, and then in China. The department would also be taking part in Arab travel mart and roadshows.”

Having worked with Mumbai as its Metropolitan Collector once upon a time, Singh emphasized that there is a dying need to rope in entrepreneurs to the trade. She adds, “We should be proud that the eco-village concept at Govardhan in Palghar district received accolades and an international award for the best concept in Asia.”

Speaking about challenges such as GST and demonetization, Singh averred that tourism is growing despite demonetization, and electronic visa or e-visa on arrival are becoming a reality. The tourism industry has been helped by improved connectivity. “We are trying to replicate organic living, wellness, yoga, and plainly and about experiencing rural India themes,” she shares