Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 16th 2013 Contents A23
Monday, December 16, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A new study on T&T s prospects for
developing a successful medical tourism
sector points to the country s diaspora
population, estimated at 1.3 million and
living mostly in the United States, Canada
and the United Kingdom.
According to a report in a recent edition
of the International Medical Travel journal,
there are plans to make T&T a prime des-
tination for medical tourists and investors.
However, although there are "some
regional and diaspora medical tourists from
neighbouring Caribbean territories and the United
States", the sector is limited and underdeveloped.
The report states: "The Government of T&T has
identified the health tourism sector as a niche for
potential growth and is implementing strategies
for promoting and developing products and services.
To capitalise on the potential, a plan is being made
to develop to expand the existing market and pro-
mote medical tourism.
CTA Economic & Export Analysts has prepared
a draft strategy for medical tourism funded by the
Commonwealth Secretariat on behalf of the T&T
Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI). According
to the draft strategy, there are numerous oppor-
tunities for growing this unique segment of the
The strategy is to increase the number of medical
tourists visiting by 5.500 within three years, then
grow at a rate of 20 per cent a year.
The study shows there is excess capacity in the
health system. T&T s ten private hospitals have
39,000 beds, with 31,000 being used per year.
Advantages include the fact that the country is
the commercial centre of the Caribbean with a
reputation as an excellent investment site for inter-
national businesses, a stable economy, modern
infrastructure and qualified people.
"To build momentum for foreign direct invest-
ment in healthcare several new developments and
facilities upgrades are under way. Investors are now
being sought for leisure attractions on Trinidad s
northwest coast with the Chaguaramas Develop-
ment Authority (CDA) working to turn more than
14,000 acres into one of the most inviting tourist
destinations in the region. The CDA is inviting
investors to design, build, finance and operate these
recreational facilities," the report states.
"Under construction is a new national oncology
centre, which will be a model for health tourism
in the Caribbean and serve as the main treatment
centre for cancer in the country. It will open in
November 2014 and will offer cancer treatment
and diagnostic technologies such as the CyberKnife,
PET/CT and nuclear imaging. The country wants
to promote itself for medical treatment and for
The study concludes that co-operation, co-ordi-
nation and awareness raising within the country
and development of a national brand and identity
as a medical tourism destination are essential to
realising the potential of the sector. A key role is
to ensure that the sector works together to promote
collective interests within T&T and globally.
"This is a necessary condition to future plans
and any hope of achieving set targets."
Success also depends on the various local gov-
ernment bodies, private healthcare, airlines, travel
agents and local hotels working together and the
government committing funds to promote medical
The report concludes: "Previous attempts at
turning a desire to increase medical tourism into
action have failed due to the inability of the various
parties to work together, and the government failing
to provide adequate funding; perhaps this time it
will be different."
Draft strategy shows:
T&T's medical tourism hinges on diaspora
"Under construction is a new national
oncology centre, which will be a model for
health tourism in the Caribbean and serve
as the main treatment centre for cancer in
the country. It will open in November 2014
and will offer cancer treatment and
diagnostic technologies such as the
CyberKnife, PET/CT and nuclear imaging.
The country wants to promote itself for
medical treatment and for wellness
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