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Health and tourism merging to meet consumer needs

Caribbean Connection

7/3/2014, 11:45 a.m.
Tourism, medical services and the wellness sectors are aligning. Together, they make up an estimated 22 percent of the global ...
Bevan Springer

TAIWAN (July 3)—Tourism, medical services and the wellness sectors are aligning. Together, they make up an estimated 22 percent of the global gross domestic product, asserted a speaker at the World Medical Tourism Congress, hosted in Taipei by Taiwan’s External Trade Development Council.

Speaking to hundreds of tourism and medical specialists from Asia and participants from other regions, Lelei LeLaulu, special advisor to the World Bank Group, said the medical sector must learn from the hospitality sector if it is to prosper in the rapidly changing global medical tourism market.

LeLaulu said medical tourism clinics need to begin to “stop treating people as patients and treat their guests as customers” with special needs and requirements. “It’s no longer sufficient to provide just good medicine; you also have to provide a caring and responsive environment in an attractive destination,” said Lelaulu”. He lauded airports in Taiwan, which had special medical tourism welcome facilities, and Bangkok, which had four such areas.

LeLaulu, also a public relations consultant with Marketplace Excellence, pointed to Health City Cayman Islands as a model for the medical tourism industry.

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Shomari Scott

“This new facility in the Cayman Islands has embraced sustainability and has done its utmost to ensure it is a palpable benefit to the host community and not a drain on local resources,” asserted LeLaulu.

Speaking to the Congress on the topic of “Expanding the Medical Tourism Market Through Brand Awareness and Diversification of Marketing Techniques,” LeLaulu held up the Cayman Islands’ facility as a 21st century model for medical care. In sharp contrast to failed attempts to build underground clinics in other parts of the world, he said Health City Cayman Islands regards light as therapeutic and ensures that patient rooms have ample natural light and extensive views of the carefully landscaped grounds.

Shomari Scott, marketing director of Health City Cayman Islands, confirmed that the ultra-modern facility has gone to great lengths to ensure all patient rooms have large windows to let in the maximum amount of light. The landscaping, he added, has its own 20-year development plan.

“The iconic lady, Margaret Barwick, who did the initial landscaping, handed us a large book detailing plantings and land sculpting, which she said were to be followed way after her passing on,” said Scott.

Health City Cayman Islands began operations in April of this year with a state-of-the-art, tertiary care hospital in Grand Cayman as a center of excellence in cardiac surgery, cardiology, orthopedics, pulmonary and pediatric endocrinology. Over the next decade, the hospital plans to expand to a 2,000-bed facility, providing care in major specialties, including neurology, oncology and other cutting-edge tertiary care disciplines. The complex also plans to have a medical university and an assisted-care living community.

Health City Cayman Islands is the vision of famed Indian heart surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty. As chairman of Narayana Health, he oversees a network of 26 hospitals across India.

Narayana Health is joined in the first phase of the project by Ascension, the largest private, not-for-profit, faith-based health system in the United States.