Roundtable discussion about Medical Tourism in Hungary

The Roundtable ‘Exploring Health Tourism’ gathered a group of international experts in Budapest, Hungary, to better understand and explore the growing segment of wellness and medical tourism. The meeting was convened by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC), as part of their joint research programme, with the support of the Hungarian Tourism Agency.

The two-day event held in Budapest gathered experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union (EU), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the European Spas Association, the Global Wellness Institute and Spaincares among others. Representatives from the health-related tourism sector from Hungary, Lithuania, Malaysia and Mexico attended the event.

Gusztáv Bienerth, Hungarian Commissioner for Tourism, highlighted the importance of health-related tourism in Hungary’s tourism sector, as well as the role of the country in the global market of health tourism, while underlining the relevance of the event.

Discussions were based on the ongoing ETC and UNWTO research on health tourism, a complex and not yet well-defined segment. This report is the first attempt to set a coherent conceptualization of health tourism and define the motivations behind travelers looking for health-related services.

“The need to better understand an emerging, global, complex and rapidly changing phenomenon such as wellness and medical tourism has become essential to tap into its growth potential”, said Márcio Favilla, UNWTO Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations.

“For ETC and UNWTO it is very important that we provide tourism authorities, managers and experts with a better understanding of the health tourism phenomenon and jointly cooperate to identify and provide a consistent terminology that lays the foundations for this promising sector”, said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of ETC.

Participants debated the taxonomy proposed in the research to agree on a consistent terminology to define and describe the system of travelling for health purposes. Furthermore, the Roundtable explored the latest trends shaping health tourism and how tourism destinations can tap into these opportunities.

The final report establishing common grounds for a health-related tourism taxonomy will be published by the end of 2016.

Additional information:
Full list of participants: the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the European Spas Association, the Global Wellness Institute, Spaincares, the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, the Mexican Council for the Medical Tourism Industry, the Lithuania Medical Tourism Cluster, the Lithuania State Department of Tourism, the Hungarian Tourism Agency, the Hungarian Hotel Association, the Danubius Hotels, Xellum and Intuition Communication.

The research ‘Exploring Health Tourism’ commissioned by ETC and UNWTO was prepared by László Puczkó and Melanie Smith (Xellum), with the support of the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ).


Malaysian Medical Tourism

Medical tourism to Malaysia is expected to increase according to a report released, last week, by Malaysia’s M&E Research.

The report identified KPJ Healthcare Bhd (KPJ Healthcare) as a leader in the expansion claiming it has leveraged medical tourism to improve its healthcare revenue.

Local media reported, earlier, that KPJ was planning to build three new hospitals in Malaysia due to open over the next two to three years.

inside no 5The three hospitals will have a 420-bed capacity, catering for patients in Johor, Melaka and Klang Valley.

The government intends to promote three healthcare hubs in Penang, Melaka and Johor Bahru as part of the 11th Malaysia Development Plan.

The initiative, M&A Research believes, will attract more medical tourist to visit private hospitals in Malaysia.

The average bill spent by medical tourists was 20% higher than the average local healthcare spend. Medical tourists probably represent less than 5% of the country’s total private hospital revenue.

M&E noted that the higher spend by medical tourists could be attributed to them under taking more value added services such as complete body check-up and other health screening.

Medical tourism is likely to grow due to a weakening ringgit and the price ceiling on consultation fees in Malaysia.

The research firm noted that demand for healthcare services will expand in the future with an estimated population growth of 1.5% in Malaysia.

Medical Tourism strategy by Top Hospitals

New-age doctors from corporate hospitals have been winging out of Hyderabad in dozens for consultations abroad and returning to city with ready-to-treat patients.

The result is a multi-fold increase in arrival of international patients, especially from over 25 countries in Africa, West Asia and SAARC countries, for treatment including surgeries. An estimated 800-1,000 foreign patients are being treated or operated in the erstwhile Nizam city every month.

So much so, Apollo Hospitals has set up a dedicated international block in its Jubilee Hills campus only to treat overseas patients, thanks to the referrals made by its 37-40 member expert team from Hyderabad each month when they attend clinics in these host countries.

“The year-on-year growth of foreign patients at Apollo Hospitals is about 11% to 12%,” said Radhey Mohan, vice president, International Business Development, Apollo Hospitals.

He said that from their entire group of hospitals, including at Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad, about 75-80 doctors visit about 75-80 countries each month. The scene is similar at Continental Hospital, a Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited facility that boasts of 1 international patient out of every eight patients that it treats in Hyderabad in a day.

“Our growth in international patients too is in double digits. At least 10 of our doctors fly abroad every month to attend health camps in specialities like orthopaedics, cardiology, oncology in countries as far as Somalia and the selected patients follow the doctors to Hyderabad for procedures,” said Gokul Prem Kumar, head, international business, Continental Hospitals.

Fortis Hospital,Bengaluru gets Medical Tourism Award

Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta, Bengaluru is now recognized as the ‘Best Medical Tourism Hospital. At the recently concluded Karnataka tourism awards 2016 organised by Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) Fortis Hospitals bagged the honours.

The award was presented by Priyank Kharge, IT-BT Minister to individual and organizations that have played a key role in the development of state’s tourism.

“It is an honor to be also recognized by FKCCI after being accredited from the US-based Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA). Such appreciation only motivates us to provide benchmark care and services to our patients, both domestic and international,” said Vijayarathna, zonal director, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru.

Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta was India’s first hospital to achieve medical tourism accreditation from the US-based Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) in 2014. Medical tourism certification from MTQUA is the only global certification program for hospitals, clinics, agencies, recovery resorts and related services and providers.

Fortis Healthcare Limited operates its healthcare delivery services in India, Dubai, Mauritius and Sri Lanka with 54 healthcare facilities including projects under development. The healthcare majors accounts for approximately 10,000 potential beds and 314 diagnostic centres.

Rishikesh,Uttarakhand to promote itself as Medical tourism destination

To give a fillip to medical tourism on the lines of Kerala, Uttarakhandhealth department will develop Rishikesh into an Aarogya Nagar of Uttarakhand. This was disclosed by the officials of health department on the occasion of internationa yoga day after CM’s announcement.
As per the claims of health department’s top official, it is a very preliminary thought which was discussed with the health minister this week only however, they are determined to implement the project.
Citing it necessity one of the officials from health department said that there is vast scope in medical tourism hence implicating stringency is a must.
To start with the initiative, Rishikesh has been earmarked by the department as it is home to several thousand tourists thronging in from different parts of world.
Seeing the vast economic possibility and sensitivity of the sector, health minister of Uttarakhand, Surendera Singh Negi, said, “The prime objective of bringing medical tourism into an organized sector is this that tourists coming to our states are not cheated in any from as it leaves massive negative impacts on the minds of tourists and we cannot afford negative feedback from tourists. We don’t want the image of Uttarakahnd to decline, especially among tourists because they make for a strong part of our economy.”
Interestingly now starting from poor services to undue high payment for any kind of body or mind rejuvenation services, everything will now be under scanner of health department.
The minister added, “We will ensure that all the service providers from giving any kind of health (soul and body) are registered with health department and the fee structure for all the services remain similar all over the city. This to remove disparity and to ensure that tourists are given healthy and recognized services under the aegis of state government

Unfortunately, Rishikesh is home to several thousand spa, panchkarma and ayurvedic treatment centres however, not even health department is very sure of total number of such active centres running in the city.
Meanwhile, highlighting more about the initiative which might sound negative to the businessmen of Rishikesh, Dr. Neeraj Kherwal, said, “Now all these businessmen and doctors will have to work taking Clinical Establishment Act, 2010 into consideration, which means huge stringency. The entire project will run in very close coordination of all the departments. Also, we will certainly take opinion of locals of Rishikesh before executing any plan for the city as they are the prime stakeholders while we convert Rishikesh into first Aarogya Centre of Uttarakhand ”
Similarly, Tungnath, Lohaghat and Jageshwar in Uttarkhand will see Aarogya Centres on the lines of Rishikesh.

Apollo Hospitals to develop hospital in China

Apollo Hospitals Group and Hainan Ecological Smart City Group (HESCG), a Chinese industrial park development and operations company, signed an MoU to jointly develop a highly integrated modern health care service facility and systems in China’s Hainan province. The MoU was signed by Apollo Hospitals Joint MD Sangita Reddy and HESCG MD Yang Chunzhi in the presence of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Hainan Governor Liu Cigui and Apollo Hospitals Group Founder Chairman Prathap C. Reddy

The hospital will come up in upcoming Smart City on the island of Hainan. It will also have medical, nursing and paramedical colleges and would cater to not only the people of the province but also attract medical tourists from mainland China and other nations. The collaboration with Apollo Hospitals would begin with the development of a state-of-the art hospital and the colleges and will lead to the development of advanced health-care IT systems and telemedicine solutions.

HESCG will provide land, all the investments for the construction, commissioning and equipping the hospital besides all operative expenses, while Apollo Hospitals Group would provide its services for technical consulting, planning and commissioning of the hospital.

The struggle of medical sector in Nigeria

The Doctors in Nigeria is having a tough time to convince people not to go to other countries for Medical treatment.They are trying to improvise the services available there and doing all sort of promotional activities.But recently the President of country preferred to go to London for treatment.Doctors there are not happy with his move and believe that this will create a bad impression about the Nigerian healthcare situation.Every year Nigerians spend millions of dollars abroad for treatment.The doctors wants the nigerians to get the inhouse treatment and not to depend outside countries for the same.Only time will tell how things would shape up for their healthcare sector.