Sincere effort to boost the medical tourism sector of Jordan was truly felt in the recently concluded Global Healthcare Travel Forum held in Amman, Jordan. It was the first GHTC (Global Healthcare Travel Council) meet in the country held in association with PHA (Private Hospitals Association), Jordan under the auspices of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al—Hussain.
The two day conference that ran from 25th-27th February witnessed a grand gathering of more than 500 participants from 40 countries comprising of medical specialists, professionals and eminent personalities from GHTC, Health ministry, PHA and renowned medical organizations.
It was a well organized meet that deserves special praise with the events planned sequentially as per relevance bringing out its true essence. The opening speech delivered by Dr. Fawzi Al Hammouri, PHA Chairman and GHTC President stressed the significance of the fast-growing medical tourism sector foreseeing the country’s further growth prospects in this domain.
Jordan sees an annual visit of 3, 00,000 medical travelers. The country takes pride in providing state-of-the-art medical facilities run by a team of highly educated and experienced specialists who have undergone extensive training in the US.
The contribution of PHA in building the Jordan’s healthcare service at par with international standards deserves special mention. It is continuously striving in elevating the standards of the Jordanian Hospitals and is running neck to neck with the top hospitals of the US and UK.In 2014, Jordan was declared as the leader of medical tourism by World Bank in the Arab region and ranked 5th in the world.
Comparatively, a higher number of Jordanians suffer from chronic lifestyle diseases and critical ailment. Therefore, the country’s spend in healthcare is appreciably higher which is about 10% of its GDP. The $1 billion medical tourism market of Jordan is highly competitive and price sensitive. Consequently, there is a constant demand for advanced medical support fostering the growth in healthcare sector.
Against this backdrop, conducting the GHTF meet carries immense significance to further the growth of the existing robust medical tourism market. The GHTF meet came up with a well charted agenda duly emphasizing on the key growth areas pointing out other important segments of diversification.
A comparative picture of the leading medical tourism destinations was portrayed identifying the areas of strength that propelled their growth. International accreditations, compliance with regulations, treatment quality and safety aspect of the patients were given serious consideration to facilitate a great medical tourism experience for travelers. It is important to note that Jordan has well framed regulations for medical practice and procedures that encourages abroad tourists to seek medical support here.
The conference also brought into light notable breakthroughs in stem cell treatment and advanced cancer treatments that the country can boast of. It also showcased the importance of certified specialization programs to set a benchmark of professionalism in medical tourism. It did praise the continuous royal patronage that has helped in achieving great breakthroughs.
The need to popularize hospitality and tourism education was also discussed in this meet. The GHTF also did not miss to emphasize on the importance of continuous innovation of marketing strategies that would portray the country’s image as the most reliable brand in the global platform.
Enhancing the GHTF impact, the cabinet issued new visa policies for Yemenis and Sudanese enabling them hassle free medical travel. The airlines would be asked to provide the names of these nationals to get them a fast security clearance. This would divert these tourists traveling to countries like India, Turkey and Tunisia, the strong competitors. The country had already witnessed a 40% drop in medical tourist visits owing to visa restrictions.
A request was placed to the government from PHA to exempt visas forwomen, children under 15 and men above 50. The association also requested issuing electronic or e-visas to medical travelers from the countries where Jordan embassy/consulate is absent.
The forum witnessed the signing of several significant agreements between the leading medical institutions and medical service providers that would generate a continuous benefit in medical tourism.
The most significant event came up with the ‘Amman Declaration’ seeking expansion of medical tourism.
It is important to note that in the pursuit of strengthening medical tourism, the country is giving equal importance in building Spa and wellness tourism sector, which are also booming globally. That the country is looking for an all round progress in the medical and wellness tourism sector to maintain its lead is clearly spelt out in this meet.