Can health tourism in Indonesia take off? Flying abroad for treatment has become commonplace in many parts of the world. But, the question is whether Indonesia is ready to embrace health tourism? Does it have a fully developed health sector to support health tourism? Can it provide all the facilities to foreign travelers seeking health-related facilities?
There are six health tourism sectors in Indonesia, which draw from local knowledge, that can be developed further to beat competition from other Southeast Asian nations, the Indonesia Tourism Forum (IPI) has said.
“We need to combine health tourism, medical tourism, and wellness tourism in a broader sense,” IPI patron Guntur Subagja Mahardika said here on Thursday.
Mahardika, who is also Special Staff Assistant to the Vice President of Indonesia, said that the six sectors in health tourism that can be developed further are: medical, food and nutrition, beauty, sport, nature, and spiritual and education sectors.
“Three neighboring countries—Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia—have been more advanced in the medical tourism sector, but we (can) excel in wellness and health tourism with the added value of local wisdom,” he explained.
Wellness tourism refers to a special interest vacation that allows travelers to maintain their fitness levels, he said during a webinar on ‘Making Indonesia a Hub for Global Health Tourism’, organized by ISABC (Indonesia – Saudi Arabia Business Council) and the bilateral committee of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).
Data from the Global Wellness Institute shows the global wellness economy has reached US$4.5 trillion, he noted. Meanwhile, last year, Data Bridge Market Research projected that the global health tourism market could reach US$269 billion by 2027, he said.
“The development of Indonesian health tourism will have a major economic impact on other sectors such as MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises), transportation, culinary, creative economy, and other people’s economies,” Mahardika pointed out.
Another potential is to provide added value to Halal services in health tourism, whose economic value has reached US$3.2 trillion globally, he said. Halal health tourism can be an advantage for Indonesia, he added.
Therefore, the COVID-19 pandemic can be a catalyst for the development of the health tourism sector by working on the potential of local wisdom found in the archipelago, he remarked.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Indonesian Tourism Doctors Association (Perkedwi), Dr. Mukti Eka, said that Indonesia is ready for developing its health tourism, considering the ability of Indonesian doctors and tourism services, which are at par with those of other countries.