Medical tourism promotion initiative
Public, private cooperation to attract tourists
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) and the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) have launched an initiative to promote medical tourism in the country. Players from both the public and private sectors will collaborate to promote medical services as a local touristic product.
The MoT and the MoPH recently formed a national council for medical tourism, headed by Dr. Fawzi Odaimi, President of the Arab Hospitals Federation and Director of Notre Dame du Liban Hospital. The council will work closely with private stakeholders to implement the project.
Jean Abboud, President of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents (ATTAL), said the local market already has strong fundamentals for attracting medical tourism: “We have reputable medical institutions with renowned competent physicians in all specialties.”
Travel agencies will start including medical briefs in their brochures, featuring renowned local hospitals, with an emphasis on services and price ranges. Abboud said: “These brochures along, with media campaigns, will constitute good supporting material in international health and tourism seminars. They could also be posted online with the bookings.”
Abboud said a tourist seeking medical treatment is always accompanied by other people, so offering them good hotel packages and tours would be very attractive.
The initiative mainly targets visitors from the Arab world, thus the packages will be tailored to this clientele. MoT statistics in 2012 had shownthat Iraqi citizens had the highest share of Arab visitors. Sources from the Embassy of Iraq said most visiting Iraqis were seeking medical care and therapeutic services. “Iraqis used to go to Damascus by land for medical treatment, but the Syrian turmoil made them shift to Lebanon as their medical destination.”
In line with the initiative, Beirut will host the international ‘Medical Tourism Congress’, which will be taking place in November.
Date Posted: Jun 18, 2013