China’s Hainan to boost international medical tourists

Tropical island province Hainan has set a target to receive more than 1.3 million overseas tourists in 2020. With a special economic zone for medical tourism in operation since 2013 and a plan to open over 60 hospitals and clinics, inbound medical tourism is likely to increase, particularly from Russia.

Hainan has been making great progress toward its goal of becoming a world-class medical tourist destination. It has set a target to receive more than 1.3 million overseas tourists overall, and become a world-class medical and wellness destination, before the end of this decade.

Hainan offers a wide range of travel packages that include sightseeing, beaches, folk customs, tropical rainforests, sports and health care.

More than 60 million people visited Hainan in 2017, the majority of whom were Chinese domestic travellers. The number of overseas tourists exceeded 1.1 million in 2017 (up 50% on 2016), according to statistics from local authorities. This included 280,000 Russians, a number which is expected to increase in 2018.

A three-year plan to attract international visitors will be rolled out this year, with preferential policies such as visa-free services, ticket promotions and service upgrades.
A sea-land-air transportation network has been built to connect the province with the rest of the world.

Hainan Island is designated a special economic zone for medical tourism with its own regulatory regime for medical experimentation, notably stem cells clinical research, permitting research that is forbidden or controlled elsewhere in China.

The Hainan Boao Lecheng international medical tourism pilot zone was the first of its kind in the country when approved by the State Council in 2013. It enjoys nine preferential polices, including special permission for medical talent, technology, devices and drugs, and an allowance for entrance of foreign capital and international communications. The project integrates medical services, wellness, pharmaceuticals, scientific research, rehabilitation, senior care, and tourism in an area which is also dedicated to energy conservation and environmental protection. Its goal is to become a world-class medical and wellness destination before the end of this decade.

Over 60 hospitals and clinics are opening in Hainan in a hope of attracting both domestic and overseas medical tourists. One successful area is maternity tourism with both Russian and Chinese mothers going there to have children. Yiling Life Care Centre offers healthcare that integrates Chinese culture and traditional Chinese care.

Boao Evergrande International Hospital, scheduled to open in 2018, will focus on cancer treatment and prevention. It is anticipated that more than 2,000 patients each year will be treated with cutting-edge treatment at its proton therapy centre.

View the IMTJ profile of medical tourism in China.