Kenya is set to host a mega conference next week to explore effective ways of making nascent health and medical tourism a vibrant socio-economic sector, organizers disclosed on Wednesday.The conference themed, “Making Kenya the preferred health and medical tourism destination” being spearheaded by the Vision 2030 delivery secretariat is scheduled for May 22.
Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat Director General, Dr. Julius Muia has said a review by the secretariat in 2013 through a health tourism situational analysis shows the country has a huge potential for health tourism market.
“Therefore, there is need to look into areas of development within the health and tourism sectors to capture the opportunities in this growing industry, Dr. Muia told reporters in Nairobi.
Development of innovative tourism products and boosting quality and access to universal healthcare services are key deliverables under the Vision 2030 national dream.
Approximately 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad for health related reasons and spend between 7($6 million) – 10 billion shillings ($9 million) annually with a vast majority travelling to India.
The common services that these Kenyans go out to seek for are Oncology, Nephrology, Cardiology and heart procedures, and elective surgical procedures.
However, Kenya has over the last few years shown potential for robust growth in medical tourism market with foreigners from Eastern and Central Africa as well non-African health tourists have shown appetite for the destination.
“Eastern and Central Africa is the main source of foreigners seeking health and health related services in Kenya. A smaller number comprising non-African health tourists choose Kenya due to the diversity of tourism destinations and experiences,” added Dr. Muia.
About 3,000-5,000 foreigners visit Kenya every year for health and health-related reasons.
Fast-paced lifestyles, on the back of rapid growth of middle income population in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa is also presenting an increasing demand for wellness tourism products.
Key International actors have also been invited to deliberate and strategize on making health and medical tourism a vibrant socio-economic sector in Kenya.