Investing in a health village in Iceland

 

There has been increased interest in recent weeks in health related investments in the Asbru health village near Keflavik International Airport in southwest Iceland.Among many investors who have been visiting the site and examining possibilities are Otto Nordhus of Swedish medical practice Nordhus Medical and representatives of investment firm Salt Investments, owned by serial entrepreneur Robert Wessman.Subsidiaries include Salt Health which owns health businesses, and Salt Properties, a property development company focused on investing in planned communities that offer a combination of residential properties and leisure amenities that embrace new solutions for promoting a better quality of life. Salt has Spanish deluxe residential spa and golf resort projects located in Los Nietos and La Primavera in Murcia, and in San Miguel de Salinas in Alicante.

Nordhus and Salt Investments hope to encourage a growth in medical tourism to Iceland, by performing operations on Nordic visitors who are on long waiting lists in their home countries. Nordhus has already secured contracts with the Norwegian and Swedish authorities. Post and pre-operation care will be handled in the Asbru health village where there are plenty of apartments available for healthcare related developments.

There are already several companies in the Asbru health village attracting health tourists. Detox Jonina Ben is a health therapy center specializing in Detox health therapies, opened in May 2009 by Icelandic entrepreneur Jonina Benediktsdottir. Detox therapy is a wellness method developed in Poland and aimed at enabling the body to heal itself. Since it opened it has been operating at full capacity. Another business is the Keilir IAK personal trainer program, which has been attracting a lot of attention. Recently nine members of the Icelandic handball national team that claimed silver in the last Olympic Games, signed up as students.

There are opportunities tied to the development of health and relaxation in the Reykjanes area as the majority of tourists who come to Iceland travel through Keflavik Airport.

A Reykjanes Health Association, Ice: Heilsufélag Reykjaness, has recently been founded to develop health opportunities in Reykjanes. The goals of the association are to market Iceland as the land of beauty and health. The Keflavik airport development corporation (Kadeco) the Blue Lagoon and the Keilir school of health are working with it to co-ordinate plans for the different parties in Asbru health village.

Ásbrú is a former Nato military base near Keflavik airport. After Nato evacuation in 2006, the base was re-invented as a community of entrepreneurs, students and business. The US military had been there for 60 years. A new Icelandic government owned company, Keflavik Airport Development Company - Kadeco, leads the development and transformation of the former defence area, now known as Ásbrú. Ásbrú offers ambitious new academic programs at Keilir, has the largest university campus in Iceland, one of the largest business incubators in Iceland, as well as many other projects such as a green energy research center and Iceland’s first international data centre. Asbrú’s location close to Keflavik Airport and the large harbour at Helguvík offers a  central position between Europe, North America, and Asia.

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