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Sunday, 16 February 2014

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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 briefing.

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 employment generation.

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 tourism.

 

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