Bahrain 'a key health tourism hub'
Manama, December 13, 2007
Billions of dinars are being invested in Bahrain's medical sector, which will soon become a major destination for health tourism.
"A visible sudden surge in infrastructure development in the last few months, particularly related to the health sector, is extremely encouraging," Health Minister Dr Faisal Al Hamer told the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
"Billions of dinars are being spent in the sector, which will help turn Bahrain into one of the word's major destinations for health tourism."
The minister was speaking on the sidelines of the Fifth International Health Tourism Exhibition at the Bahrain International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The three-day event, organised by the Amadeus International Fairs Group, is being held under the patronage of Information Minister Jihad Bukamal.
Dr Al Hamer said the $1.6 billion Health Island off Muharraq is expected to create hundreds of job opportunities for Bahrainis and make a significant contribution to the economy.
He said many investors were now entering the arena, something that the government has always been looking forward to.
"The way forward is through the participation of the private sector. The government cannot do much on its own," said Dr Al Hamer.
He said the health tourism exhibition was a major initiative and, over the years, it has attracted thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world.
Dr Al Hamer said his ministry was also gearing itself to become one of the major players in the health tourism sector.
"More than a service provider, we shall have the role of a regulator in the very near future, which shall allow only top class players to enter the field," he said.
Bukamal said tourism is one of the vital sectors of Bahrain's economy. Presistent efforts taken to attract major tourism projects, mainly in the health field, will transform the country into a major regional destination for health tourism, he added.
"The emphasis that Bahrain is laying on quality health care, coupled with world class tourist attractions, is an ideal combination to make Bahrain occupy a prime position in the health tourism map of the world," he said to reporters after opening the exhibition.
Bukamal said he was extremely encouraged with the "tremendous" response of the exhibitors, who have come to the show from all over the world.
The event features more than 120 exhibitors from 12 countries in the Arab region and around the world, who are offering the latest information on technologies and standards of health care, as well as tourist destinations.
Amadeus International Fairs Group managing director Hisham Saleh said health tourism was becoming popular because more and more people are travelling for medical treatment and making it part of their family holiday.
He said exhibitors include hospitals, clinics, medical organisations, health resorts and spas, travel agents that offer health tourism packages, airlines, medical referrers, tourism promotion boards, hotels with special health facilities, ministry officials and specialised publications.
The exhibition is open to the public from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm today and from 4pm to 9pm tomorrow. Entrance is free. - TradeArabia News Service
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