Medical tourism too woo more tourists
Medical tourism in Sri Lanka is emerging with a large influx of
tourists into the country each year for medication, Industry and
Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen told the media at the launch of
INTRAD Expo 2014 and Arogya 2014, healthcare exhibition at the BMICH
from May 16-18.
Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and
Ministry Secretary Dr. Anura Siriwardene at the media
Bathiudeen said that around 15 percent of the patients who seek
treatment in local hospitals are those from the Maldives and countries
in the region who spend several days here during and after medication.
“Lanka Hospitals and Durdans have launched programs for foreign
patients. We hope to attract more patients by providing healthcare
services that suit their needs. Medical tourism is a promising sector
for the tourism industry which is poised to achieve greater heights with
the rapid development in infrastructure and increase in the number of
hotel rooms,” he said.
The contribution from of medical tourism is remarkable considering
the foreign exchange it brings to the country.
The per capita health expenditure in Sri Lanka is around US$ 175. The
standard of healthcare services in the country lags behind the services
offered in developed countries.
Medical tourism has many spill-over benefits on other sectors through
Bathiudeen said that earnings from exports in 2013 rose 6.3 percent
to US$ 10.38 billion compared to the previous year and added that
exports in December last year recorded a noteworthy growth.
Growth in industrial exports was 15.2 percent to US$ 741 million. Sri
Lanka targets US$ 20 billion export income by 2020.
“Steps have been taken with the support of the Export Development
Board to increase the number of value added exports and venture into new
markets in the region,” he said.
Sri Lanka exports mainly to the US and Europe markets. Its exports to
the region is minimal compared to the quantity exported each year to
Europe and USA.
National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) President Sunil
Wijesinghe said that the chamber will hold a business and trade summit
in Colombo shortly with a large number of foreign participants.
“The INTRAD and Arogya twin exhibitions will help boost exports and
build a vibrant healthcare sector in the country.”
The two exhibitions will help uplift local entrepreneurs. The
healcare exhibition held last year was attended by a large number of
locals and foreigners.
The exhibition profile comprises agriculture, banking, construction,
engineering, education, environmental services, export, food processing,
health related services, ICT, import, insurance, manufacturing and