In 2006, it was estimated that there were 350,000 Indonesians who underwent medical treatment overseas with the total spending of 500 million dollars. The latest calculation estimates that there are around 600,000 Indonesians who travel overseas for medical treatment with a total spending of around 1.4 billion dollars. (Shutterstock/File)
One of the highlights of the Tourism National Coordination Meeting III that runs from Sept. 26 - 27 was the MoU signing between the tourism ministry and the health ministry for the development of international medical tourism.
Tourism ministry’s secretary Ukus Kuswara said the development of medical and health tourism is one of the flagships of special-interest tourism.
“The development of medical tourism in Indonesia has a big potential considering the location and Indonesia’s advantages for medical tourism. It’s also worth noting the number of Indonesians who travel abroad to get medical treatment,” said Ukus.
The partnership between the two ministries involves policy and program coordination and harmonization, medical tourism improvement, development, education for the locals who live around medical tourist destinations, information and data exchange.
“There’s also integrated technical mentoring, monitoring and evaluation,” Ukus added.
The tourism ministry has the responsibility to form the standard indicator for medical tourism, conduct awareness of traditional values, authenticity, uniqueness, and access, and forming a partnership between private businesses in the tourism industry and the assigned medical facilities.
“Tourism ministry is also tasked with forming a marketing strategy for medical products and services, identifying and proposing some of the leading products for medical tourism that will be patented as an intellectual property in Indonesia and the world,” told Ukus.
Meanwhile, the responsibilities of healthy ministry include forming and socializing the medical tourism policy, pushing private sectors to build leading upscale hospitals and traditional health facilities.
The next step for both ministries is to form a joined taskforce with hospital, spa and other health association representatives.
In 2006, it was estimated that there were 350,000 Indonesians who underwent medical treatment overseas with the total spending of 500 million dollars. The latest calculation estimates that there are around 600,000 Indonesians who travel overseas for medical treatment with a total spending of around 1.4 billion dollars. In comparison, countries like Thailand has successfully developed its medical tourism and resulting in 3.2 billion dollars of foreign exchange in 2011.
A global survey conducted by McKinsey in 2008 on reasons why consumers like to travel overseas for a medical treatment shows that 40 percent of them are looking for the most advanced technology, 32 percent are looking for better treatment, 15 percent of them want faster medical service and only nine percent are looking for cheaper treatment.
Meanwhile in Indonesia, when it comes to health and wellness, the country is most famous for its spa treatments and destinations.
“The success of Bali in being the best Spa destination in the world is not yet supported by scientific principles in Indonesia and not yet patented internationally. Traditional health treatments need to be preserved and supported scientifically in order to become sustainable and able to compete globally,” said health ministry secretary-general Untung Suseno Sutarjo.
“In Bali for example, the destination has long been known for its beautiful beaches, but apparently this place also has plenty of international hospitals, one of them is BIMC Hospital in Nusa Dua. Plenty of overseas tourists have recommended this place for those who fall sick during their vacations in Bali,” added Arief.
Nowadays, the hospital is famous for its plastic surgery treatments, plenty of Australian tourists come to do cosmetic surgery at the hospital.
“Most of them are doing blepharoplasty, liposuction and breast enhancement while vacationing,” told Arief. (asw)