Barbados wants to mix tourism and healthcare


Richard Sealy, minister of tourism, wants a more focused fusion of medicine and tourism to benefit Barbados. He stresses that the fusion is important, not only for tourism, but also for the medical profession and for the development of Barbados.

At a recent conference Sealy explained his logic; “We have to see this fusion as providing some exciting opportunities and not purely as an economic argument. It is not just a case of earning foreign exchange because in broadening your horizon, staying on the cutting edge and offering your services to a wider pool of persons, you are taking it to the ultimate extreme in terms of being a better practitioner by having a larger pool. So it is not just good for tourism, it is good for medicine, and it is being a good doctor. It is good for the development of Barbados so medical tourism is extremely important as having significant spin-offs.”

He added, “We have not properly analysed the extent to which the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as a regional centre, has been doing medical tourism over the years. As several departments in the QEH have catered to people from other countries in the region, that is a tourism product.  Tourism is any money earned outside of the jurisdiction being spent within the jurisdiction, and if you follow that simplistic definition, we have had medical tourism in Barbados for years.”

Sealy then explained what the government planned; “We need to see how we can properly develop the fusion between medicine and tourism in a more structured way given the fertile ground we have already. If we are going to see ourselves offering our medical services to the world, we will have to be at the cutting edge. Telemedicine offers new scope for medical tourism and provides professionals with the capacity to offer those services to people abroad.”



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