Medical tourism in Sri Lanka is emerging with a large influx of tourists into the country each year for medication, said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
Around 15 percent of the patients who seek treatment in local hospitals are those from the Maldives and countries in the region who spend several days here during and after medication, he added.
“Lanka Hospitals and Durdans have launched programs for foreign patients. We hope to attract more patients by providing healthcare services that suit their needs. Medical tourism is a promising sector for the tourism industry which is poised to achieve greater heights with the rapid development in infrastructure and increase in the number of hotel rooms,” the Minister said, addressing the media at the launch of INTRAD Expo 2014 and Arogya 2014, healthcare exhibition at the BMICH from May 16-18.
The contribution from of medical tourism is remarkable considering the foreign exchange it brings to the country.
The per capita health expenditure in Sri Lanka is around US$ 175. The standard of healthcare services in the country lags behind the services offered in developed countries, said the Minster adding that tourism has many spill-over benefits on other sectors through employment generation.
National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) President Sunil Wijesinghe said that the chamber will hold a business and trade summit in Colombo shortly with a large number of foreign participants.
“The INTRAD and Arogya twin exhibitions will help boost exports and build a vibrant healthcare sector in the country”, he said.
The two exhibitions will help uplift local entrepreneurs. The healthcare exhibition held last year was attended by a large number of locals and foreigners Mr. Wijesinghe added.
The exhibition profile comprises agriculture, banking, construction, engineering, education, environmental services, export, food processing, health related services, ICT, import, insurance, manufacturing and tourism.