Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (JIS)
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says health and wellness tourism is a growing market on which Jamaica is uniquely poised to capitalise.
Addressing the official opening of the GWest Medical Centre in Fairview, Montego Bay, on November 2, Holness said the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference in Montego Bay from November 27 to 29 offers the perfect opportunity for the country to showcase the world-class medical facilities and services it now has at its disposal.
“The global growth in the flow of patients, health professionals and medical technology across national borders has made medical tourism a thriving sector,” Holness pointed out.
“Jamaica is ideally poised for this growing market, which was valued at approximately US$20 billion in 2016. It is now estimated that it will reach approximately US$47 billion by 2021,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the UNWTO conference will offer the forum where Jamaica will be able to highlight how far it has come in the area of health and wellness and its ability to now use it as a strategic marketing tool.
“The conference will focus on a larger scale what GWest is in fact showcasing. It will be bringing ideas and capital together to create a valuable offering which will stimulate economic growth, job creation and profitability,” Holness said.
The Prime Minister also noted that Jamaica has a competitive edge as it relates to medical tourism, pointing to “the availability of quality professionals, the island’s strategic location, increasing diagnostic facilities, and, importantly, Government’s support to facilitate growth in this market”.
“Jamaica must continue to diversify and expand our tourism product in order to meet emerging market demands. Travellers today are more discerning. In some cases, due to ageing and complex health conditions, the availability of world-class health facilities is considered when making decisions to travel for vacation, business or to return home,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minister, however, said that even with the best of intentions and all the best-laid plans in the world, unless the crime situation is brought under control, everything, going forward, will continue to be a challenge.
“The business community here in Montego Bay is especially sensitive to this reality. I want to say to the business people that we hear your concerns, and we are doing all that we can and more to ensure that we bring the situation under control very quickly,” he added.
The Prime Minister noted that with the help of the business community and other stakeholders in Montego Bay, “we are serious about effecting sustainable, positive transformation”.
“Earlier this week, with unwavering support in Parliament, we were able to secure the extension of the Mount Salem Zone of Special Operations for a further 60 days,” Holness said.
“This will give more space to our law-enforcement teams to continue their security work and for the Social Intervention Committee to actually start the social-intervention projects that will see to a long-lasting sustained peace in those areas where the zones are implemented,” he added.
The GWest Centre was established by a group of Jamaican medical and business professionals. It is housed in a modern multipurpose commercial complex and provides a wide range of high-quality medical services in the same location. (JIS)