You CAN have it ALL- turn your vacation into a healthy one… Jamaica is now being pursued as an ideal location for medical tourism. Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has upped the ante on its pitch of the island as the choice destination for health and wellness services to potential investors and stakeholders in the local medical fraternity. This is in a bid to develop, regularize, and promote medical tourism as a viable industry in Jamaica. The thrust started with a series of medical tourism activations in Kingston, Washington D.C., and Georgia in the United States, with the most recent held in June.
The events entailed public fora which sensitized and encouraged local medical practitioners, investors and institutions respectively to the potential medical tourism opportunities in Jamaica. The events were successful, grabbing an audience average of approximately 80 people for the local forum and 50 for each of the international sessions, including local and overseas medical practitioners, investors, and diplomats. Local practitioners returned home with investment leads which can potentially develop into fruitful partnerships.
Research has already been done with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat. The findings, which included a gap analysis, showed there is opportunity for development of dental and diagnostics services to satisfy demands of visitors seeking treatment outside of their home country. Anecdotal evidence proves that patients from the Caribbean and the Diaspora in North America do access medical care in Jamaica on a regular basis. The advantages to patients using local medical services include possibly cheaper health care, access to treatments that may not be readily available in their home country, and bypassing a long waiting list.
Jamaica already has an outstanding reputation for tourism and is recognized globally for excellence in hospitality. Developing the medical aspect of tourism through investment would bolster the industry by recognizing that Jamaica has a number of competitive advantages which include the fact that we do have world class scientists and medical professionals (doctors and nurses), our geographic location in proximity to other countries in North America, and our infrastructure- a number of private inpatient hospitals and health and wellness facilities- which have a high standard of health care.
JAMPRO has been working closely with the Ministries of Health and Tourism as well as the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) to establish a regulatory framework while exploring investor interests. Potential investors can seek to setup standalone health facilities or partner with the local medical fraternity to utilize and enhance existing ones to cater to tourists seeking health care.
There are also potential opportunities for hotels and medical travel planners to provide a concierge service that offers local hospitality, transportation, accommodation, and entertainment options to relatives or travel companions of patients during the period of treatment.
Jamaica will become more attractive as a medical tourism destination, once existing facilities seek accreditation from the internationally recognized Joint Commission International or via the establishment of a national standard that could work equally well for growing the industry.
For more information visit JAMPRO’s Tourism Opportunities Page.