Friday, 30 September 2011

Jordon: Most medical tourist-friendly destination in the Middle East

Healthcare in Jordan is among the best in the Middle East and is rapidly becoming a hub for high quality and specialized medical care. After establishing itself as a popular destination for medical care among Arabs in the Middle East, Jordan is now looking to attract more patients from outside the region. Jordon will have to overcome some stiff competition from Turkey and Egypt.

Treatment costs can be as low as 25 percent of costs in the US. In addition, the country offers a high standard of medical care, an abundance of highly qualified physicians and medical staff, along with medical centers equipped with cutting-edge technology. Most countries do not require an entry visa to access Jordan’s health care system. These advantages have led to a 10% annual increase in the number of foreign patients.

In addition to its overall excellence, Jordan offers foreign patients a range of medical specialties such as oncology, bone marrow transplantation, organ transplantation, orthopedic surgeries, cardio-vascular procedures, plastic and neurological surgeries, as well as dental treatments.

There are 60 private health institutions in the kingdom, four of which have been accredited by US-based Joint Commission International, which is considered the gold standard for international accreditation in the healthcare industry. Most doctors are English-speaking and many have been trained or are affiliated with top US hospitals. Healthcare procedures in Jordan typically are just one-tenth of the price of treatments in the USA, and less than a third of the cost of medical services in the UK.

Jordan Tourism Board is now taking a more active role in boosting the industry as it has seen the growth and potential that medical tourism offers. The marketing campaign includes a web campaign and package deals from hospitals that include air travel. Traditional markets that provide nearly all medical tourists are the Arab countries in the region. It is now working on many countries in Africa and the ex-Soviet Union, and the American market.

According to the latest report issued by the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO), Jordan's revenues from medical tourism sector in 2009 reached US$1.4 billion from more than 220,000 medical tourists who visited Jordon. The increase in the number of medical tourists was 10% higher than in 2008.

Jordan's Private Hospitals Association says that Jordan has managed to attract medical tourists from the U.S., Eastern Europe and Asia, due to the high quality of medical services in Jordan. The goal in the next five years is to receive 300,000 medical tourists per year, and boost annual revenue to $1.5bn.

In 2008, the Kingdom was ranked by World Bank (WB) medical tourism experts as 1st in the region and 5th in the world as a medical tourism hub. The sector generated revenues of over $ 1 billion in 2009.

The main barrier to further growth for Jordan's medical tourism industry is visa restrictions placed on some countries due to the fear of permanent illegal settlement in Jordan.


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