Kenya is set to host a major conference to explore effective ways of making budding health and medical tourism a vibrant socio-economic sector, organizers said on Wednesday.
The conference which is organized by Vision 2030 Delivery Secretary, a government agency implementing the country’s economic blueprint, will he held on Monday.
Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat Director General Julius Muia said a review by the secretariat in 2013 through a health tourism situational analysis shows the country has a huge potential for health tourism market.
“Therefore, there is need to look into areas of development within the health and tourism sectors to capture the opportunities in this growing industry,” Muia said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The day-long conference will bring together national and county governments, private sector and non-state actors in the sectors.
“Key international actors have also been invited to deliberate and strategize on making health and medical tourism a vibrant socio-economic sector in Kenya,” Muia said.
Development of innovative tourism products and boosting quality and access to universal healthcare services are key deliverables under the Vision 2030 national dream.
Approximately 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad for health related reasons and spend between 70-100 million U.S. dollars annually with a vast majority travelling to India.
The common services that these Kenyans go out to seek for are Oncology, Nephrology, Cardiology and heart procedures, and elective surgical procedures.
However, Kenya has over the last few years shown potential for robust growth in medical tourism market with foreigners from Eastern and Central Africa as well non African health tourists have shown appetite for the destination.
“Eastern and Central Africa is the main source of foreigners seeking health and health related services in Kenya. A smaller number comprising non-African health tourists choose Kenya due to the diversity of tourism destinations and experiences,” said Muia.
About 3,000-5,000 foreigners visit Kenya every year for health and health-related reasons.
Fast-paced lifestyles, on the back of rapid growth of middle income population in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa is also presenting an increasing demand for wellness tourism products.