EDB starts first ever medical tourism push

Daily News

EDB starts first ever medical tourism push


“Professional service exports present a tremendous opportunity and can speed up government’s ‘$20B exports by 2020’ goal. Medical Tourism is one of the most promising sub-sectors in this. We are ready to work with any and all stakeholders to get this off the ground” said Director General, EDB, Sujatha Weerakoone addressing the kick-off session of EDB's 2015-20 National Masterplan Initiative on Medical Tourism held at EDB last week.

The pioneering session saw top reps from Hemas Hospitals, Asiri Group of Hospitals, Lanka Hospitals, Durdans Hospital, Nawaloka Hospitals PLC, the Health Ministry as well as M.K.S.K Maldeniya (ICT Sector Director-EDB) joining the session. The private sector reps also represent Sri Lanka’s Private Hospital Association (PHA).

PHA hosts the majority of Sri Lanka’s private hospitals, nursing homes and private healthcare providers as its members. 55% of country’s outpatients and 15% of the country’s in-house patients, are treated by members of PHA -the rest being treated by state sector hospitals & healthcare facilities.

Global Medical Tourism industry annual turnover is not definitive but Patients Beyond Borders, the oft-referenced consumer information source about international medical and health travel estimates that by 2014, the worldwide medical tourism market to be $47B (median value, $55 B at highest), growing 20% annually with 11 Mn cross-border patients worldwide, and $4250 median spending per visit! These visit costs “include all medically-related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay and accommodations.”

Studies show that around 15% of patients in Sri Lanka are foreign patients, such as from Maldives.”

“Professional service exports present a tremendous opportunity and can speed up government’s $20 B exports by 2020 goal. Medical Tourism is one of the most promising sub-sectors in this. Realising the importance of this, EDB, which strongly believes in Private Public Partnership approach, has decided to make the first ever national initiative to rally the healthcare providers as well as stakeholders and formulate a common voice for 2015-20 National Masterplan Initiative on Medical Tourism.”

The private healthcare reps at the session pledged prompt support, even declaring this to be a ‘much needed initiative’. Dr Lalith Peiris (CEO-Lanka Hospitals), addressing the session said: “We are very happy that the EDB is taking a lead role in this much needed initiative specially at a time when many medical tourism destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia etc are competing and out-pricing themselves. This initiative can also help bring high net worth tourists instead of budget tourists and the ‘wellness medical tourism’ is a huge growth area.”