Pakistan’s Ministry of Tourism has finally admitted that the country’s travel and hospitality sectors face an acute drop in business due to the combined adverse effects of terrorism, foreign governments advising their people of the risks of travelling and what the country regards as hostile media coverage all around the world. Looking to find other ways to keep the hotel and tourism industries afloat, officials have suddenly discovered medical tourism.
But there are a few snags. Few local hotels, airlines or tour operators understand medical tourism, and lack knowledge of the hair transplant, open-heart surgery, dental surgery and cosmetic surgery sectors. The ministry puts this omission down to lack of information and motivation, so plans a national conference on how to turn Pakistan into the best destination in the region for quality medical treatment at low cost.
The conference will be organized by the Tourism Ministry, Ministry of Health and Pakistan Medical Association. The invitees will be travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, representatives of airlines, medical and tourism/travel associations and hospitals, doctors, marketing professionals, and relevant government officials. The Ministry of Tourism wants to help improve cooperation and coordination between local tourism and health sectors and begin the promotion of medical tourism in the country, which after the curtailment of the organ tourism trade three years ago, has dwindled to almost nothing. The ministry hopes that by working together for the promotion of medical tourism, health and tourism sectors will support each other and reap the benefits of an improvement in the economy.