China’s ascension to world super-power status is well underway, its growth has opened the door for travelers interested in its rich culture and amazing history, and the country is seemingly always expanding the ways it attracts visitors, such as its recent focus on developing its medical tourism infrastructure.
Heading overseas for healthcare is already a big-time business for Asian countries like Thailand, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. And, relatively new to the list of hot medical travel destinations, the advanced South Korean medical tourism industry is attracting Chinese patients in record numbers with its medical specialties like cosmetic/plastic surgery and their world-class hospitals. In fact, in 2010 the Chinese surpassed Americans as the biggest source of medical tourism visitors and revenues in Korea.
But now, China is witnessing the emergence of its own medical tourism industry. Affordable prices for healthcare, a significant increase in Western expats – resulting in steady improvement of hospitals and the quality of care they deliver – English-speaking doctors, specialists trained overseas, modern technology, these are all part of the developing landscape. It was only a matter of time before China got in the game, and we are seeing various concerted efforts starting to take hold.
One major undertaking is in the area of promotion, and a good example is the International Medical Tourism Conference and Exhibition (IMTCE) which is set to showcase medical tourism in China this September 12th-13th in Shanghai. It is an inaugural event, the first of its kind in China, and it promises to be one of the best trade shows in the booming medical tourism industry this year. IMTCE China 2013 will feature experts from various medical-travel sectors and exhibitors from around the world. The important topics examined will include how providers can do business with their overseas clients most efficiently, how different divisions of a country’s medical system can attract customers from abroad, discussions about brand marketing, and, notably, revelations about the Chinese healthcare community as a whole.
Perhaps most important in the big picture sense, IMTCE China 2013 signals the country’s introduction to the medical tourism world. It affords opportunities for networking, developing partnerships, and connecting medical tourism facilitators with providers and leading industry experts in China. For a wealth of information about the IMTCE 2013 event and medical tourism in China, you can visit www.imtce-china.com.
Another significant step forward in establishing a robust medical travel scene is taking place in Hainan, China’s tropical island province, where plans are underway to build a special zone dedicated to medical tourism. The south part of the island is expected to contain facilities designated for seniors, chronically-ill patients, and the infirm, and in the north, the focus will be on medical treatment and research into things like stem cells therapy. Developers expect medical travelers to head to Hainan for its tropical climate, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and use of traditional Chinese medicine for things like alternative treatments for cancer.
Furthermore, China Medical Tourism, Inc. has established the SHMTPPP (Shanghai Medical Tourism Products & Promotion Platform), which is the official web portal for medical tourism in China and is supported and funded by multiple government agencies invested in the development and advancement of the industry in China.
All in all, medical tourism in China is ready to take off, and wouldn’t you want to be there for that?