Health

Long-term strategic plan needed for growth of medical tourism industry

Being one of emerging trends in tourism in the future, medical tourism receive much attention of health authorities in nations. Ho Chi Minh City’s health sector is increasingly gaining attention as part of the country’s emerging economy. However, experts said long-term strategic plan is needed for growth of medical tourism industry.

More and more overseas Vietnamese and foreigners have lately come to Vietnam for medical tourism (Photo: SGGP)

More and more overseas Vietnamese and foreigners have lately come to Vietnam for medical tourism (Photo: SGGP)

More and more overseas Vietnamese and foreigners have lately come to Vietnam for medical tourism.
According to the municipal Department of Tourism’s report, an increase in foreigners travelling to Vietnam for medical examinations and treatments generated revenue of over US$2 billion.
The country had attracted 300,000 medical tourists and 57,000 of them stayed in hospital for further treatment in 2018, 40 percent of them arriving in HCMC.
Experts said long-term strategic plan is needed for growth of the medical tourism industry especially Vietnam health authorities should invest more in traditional medicine.
Deputy President of the Traditional Medicine Institute in HCMC Truong Thi Ngoc Lan said the institute is focusing on introduction of traditional medicine products in terms of academy, healthcare and treatment.
Tourists will be instructed how to do cupping therapy, a form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin, dangerous spot in human body in acupuncture and acupressure in academically traditional medicine to treat asthma, insomnia, and osteomalacia
Though dentistry is considered as Vietnam’s medical tourism, it is estimated that the number of international tourist arrivals would reach approximately 100,000 yearly to Vietnam for dental treatment with revenue of around VND3,500 billion (US$150,975,429), a modest revenue compared to 13 million international holiday-makers to Vietnam spending more than VND 500,000 billion and compared to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore.
To exploit the health sector’s potential, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Health have together handed out leaflets of medical tourism and built in app to help tourists easily grasp medical services and register online in 2018.
Deputy Head of the Department of Health Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong said the city has been building portal to introduce medical services and train young people who are fluent in English to introduce medical service to foreigners.
Additionally, the municipal People’s Committee has issued a strategic plan for medical tourism growth in 2019-2025.
According to the plan, city authorities directs to expand emergency service networks and provide other healthcare services to foreigners with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes or those who have health problem while travelling in the city.
The committee also asked the health sector to gradually build international healthcare facilities in hospitals and service renovation. Medical workers of traditional medicine, dentistry, cosmetic surgery, cancer screening wards must receive training to serve tourists.

By Thanh Son - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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