Specialist health care centre to bring medical tourism to Iceland

A new health care medical tourism project by the Kadeco group and Iceland Healthcare is finally set to get underway in the second quarter of 2010 at the Asbru Enterprise Park in Keflavik, Iceland. The location for the health care facility was chosen mainly because of the area’s knowledge and experience of tourism.

The Asbru Enterprise Park, located next to Keflavik International Airport, includes a former military hospital on the campus that is being renovated. The hospital will be run by Iceland Healthcare and specialise in medical treatment including cosmetic surgery, fat-removal and joint replacements. It will have three operating theatres, 35 hospital beds and the ability to treat up to 4000 patients per year. Initially patients are expected to number 2000 a year, and the first clients are likely to arrive in the second quarter of 2011. Initially the company will focus on marketing in Norway and Sweden, and soon afterwards in the United Kingdom. Future plans include service offering in the United States.

The rise in health care and medical tourism will be a precious source of income for Iceland, having suffered crashing banks and a collapsing economy in 2008 and 2009, and put a hold on all projects. 2010 sees travellers from the UK flocking to Iceland due to the favourable currency exchange rate. Iceland’s leading airline, Icelandair, has seen an increase in UK sales over the past year since the Icelandic economic situation, where voter refusal to allow the government to compensate British investors in failed Icelandic banks has ironically brought increased attention to the country. World travel guide Lonely Planet has chosen Iceland as the best value destination for 2010. UK customers are seen as a key market for medical tourism.

Ásbrú is a new name to a former Nato military base near Keflavik airport. After Nato evacuation in 2006, the base was re-invented as a community of entrepreneurs, students and business. Housing facilities on the former military base will be used to accommodate patients and their families. Kjartan Thor Eiriksson of Kadeco says, “The project is definitely one of the most exciting innovative ventures in Iceland at the present time. It will constitute an important aspect of the build-up and development at Asbru. The cluster of health related services at Asbru will be strengthened through the operations of the hospital, and this will attract even more diverse companies involved in medicine, treatment, health promotion, research, education and the production of various health related products.”

Kadeco manages the renovation venture. The real estate company Seltun, of which Kadeco is majority owner, will own the hospital, lease it out to Icelandic Healthcare, and oversee the financing of that aspect of the venture. Salt Health, which holds an 85% share in the company, owns Iceland Healthcare; Otto Nordhus holds an 8% share, and various other parties with a combined total of 5%. Robert Wessman and Otto Nordhus hold majority ownership in Salt Health. They own the operating company but are not directly involved in financing or investment of the reconstructed hospital.