Overseas investment in Jamaica needed first

Jamaica has mostly unsuccessfully tried to offer health and medical tourism in recent years with only a small flow of medical tourists visiting the country, most of whom are diaspora members going home for treatment. Unless Jamaica can attract overseas investors, health and medical tourism could remain a dream.

Politicians and the travel and medical businesses have all agreed that there is potential for the medical and health tourism sector in Jamaica, but it has rarely got beyond talking.

No government has been prepared to spend money to develop facilities or medical tourism. There is no dedicated medical tourism promotion authority or website.

The island has however taken steps to better investigate what needs to be done, how and by whom. But it is still very much at the exploratory stage and the country remains unsure about what it wants to offer and who the target market is. There is also an acceptance that little will happen unless it can attract overseas investors to set up health and medical tourism businesses.

Responsibility for promoting medical tourism has fallen to investment body Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). The Tourism and Services Unit at JAMPRO seeks to develop and promote of leisure and medical tourism, health and wellness, and attractions. It is trying to get the Medical Association of Jamaica interested in promoting medical tourism.

JAMPRO plans to take a delegation of local health and wellness practitioners to Latin America to network and meet potential investors and partners who may be interested in establishing a facility or partnering with industry players in Jamaica. It is trying to drum up overseas investment interest in dental clinics, lifestyle and retirement villages, and also resorts that are focused on health and wellness.

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