Chinese health ministry to emphasise on medical tourism

Published on : Friday, April 11, 2014

medical-tourismBOAO, Hainan — The Chinese health industry may be a new driving force behind a rapidly aging society, experts said at an international forum Wednesday.


Within the health sector, healthcare tourism is growing fastest, said Jia Xiaofang, vice-president of Global Healthcare Travel Council (GHTC).

The Chinese health sector is expected to grow to 800 million yuan ($129 million) by 2020 and will be a powerful growth factor in domestic consumption and employment because of its expansive service and long industrial chain, said Li Bin, head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) 2014 Annual

The wellness tourism was a near half-trillion dollar market in 2013, representing 14 per cent of total global tourism revenues overall, according to a report by Global Wellness Tourism Congress last year

. The category could grow 9.9 percent annually over the next five years, nearly twice the rate of overall global tourism, reaching $680 billion by 2017, or 16 per cent of total tourism revenues.

Chinese cities with ecological advantages or rich medical R&D investment are rolling out products to cater to growing global demand.


Southern China’s Hainan Province has been a pioneer in the health sector, with the pace speeding up since the 2010 national strategy to turn Hainan into an international tourism island.

Meanwhile, the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone, the only national pilot program in medical tourism granted by the State Council, is now under construction and will set up a self-discipline body to regulate developers in the zone, according to a press conference held during the BFA on Wednesday.


Compared with neighboring countries like India, Thailand and Republic of Korea with rich experience and established brands in the global healthcare market, China is still in its infancy, Li said.

China has its unique advantages in developing the healthcare sector, such as low cost, rich tourism resources, advanced medical services, and most importantly, traditional Chinese medicine is a global attraction, she added.

“To catch up with other players with head starts, China should resort to specific national strategies and give more preferential policies to nurture the market,” said Wei Jianguo, deputy secretary-general of China International Economic and Exchange Center, a state think tank.



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