The Caribbean region can boost its bottom line by developing a medical tourism product that takes advantage of its brand as a great vacation destination, its proximity to North America as well as its tourism facilities, beaches and, the year-round warm weather of the region.
That’s according to Dr. Paul Angelchik, founder of American World Clinics, and Collin Childress, CEO of Global MedChoices.
Their comments come as both prepare to discuss the potential of medical tourism for the Caribbean in-depth at a panel at Invest Caribbean Now 2014. ICN, the biggest global investment summit on the Caribbean outside of the region, is set for the Harvard Club in New York City from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m on June 4, under the patronage of Hollywood actor Malik Yoba.
“The opportunity for the Caribbean in general is that it carries a positive connotation in the view of many for having friendly people, natural beauty and a reputation as an enjoyable, upscale destination with great visitor amenities in many locations,” Angelchik said.
“I have no doubt that the Caribbean can be a major region for MT activities if there is follow through on the initial buzz of enthusiasm that has defined the industry to date.
“Creating the opportunity for economic diversification through introducing a sustainable development and growth industry, such as medical tourism, to the Caribbean can help soften the impact of cyclical North American economic downturns in tourism on the Caribbean market and leverage the supply and demand issues that are driving patient flow offshore from Canada and the US,” CEO Childress added.
In 2011, the total impact of the medical tourism industry contributed 9 per cent of global GDP (over US$6 trillion) and accounted for 255 million jobs in the world. In the next decade, medical tourism is expected to grow by an average yearly of 4 per cent, contributing up to 10 per cent of future global GDP (US$10 trillion).
Eventually, by 2022, it is estimated that 328 million jobs will be created in the medical tourism industry: equal to 10 per cent of jobs in the world.