Encourage investment in a Saudi medical tourism industry

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Al-Watan newspaper

Medical tourism is globally considered economically important as it annually involves millions of rich travelers from around the world. For various reasons Thailand, Singapore and India have a 60 percent share of the world’s total medical tourism industry. This is because of the cheap prices in healthcare, the availability of experts and the quality of hospitals. In 2014, there were 13 hospitals in Thailand that secured American accreditation due to the quality of the hospitals there. Recent studies published in Oxford Economic Papers said that the industry was worth over $430 billion and that 3 to 4 percent of the world population traveled for healthcare.

Within the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is known for its medical skills. However, the idea of investing in medical tourism is missing. There is no shared program that connects tourism and medicine. Tourism and medical tourism are generally considered economically important in helping us achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. With the help of young people who have studied abroad and are able to speak different languages, there is potential for the industry to be economically viable. We need systems and laws that encourage investment in medical tourism. People should be granted visas to access healthcare in the Kingdom and programs need to be established that will enable us to benefit from global experts.


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