Little support for Singapore medical tourism

 

Singapore’s main tourism operators have joined forces. The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) have renewed their existing tripartite agreement to promote inbound travel to Singapore.

Under their latest three-year partnership, the three parties will jointly invest US$24 million to promote Singapore as destination, and work closely with airlines and the travel industry.

Not included in the plan is any idea of promoting Singapore as a medical or health tourism destination. This is despite reports that while overall numbers fall and traditional markets go elsewhere, Chinese medical tourists that can afford the high prices charged, are going there for expensive and complex overseas treatment.

Chinese patients visit Singapore for treatment, as services at home have been slow to catch up to global standards. They are often those with chronic diseases, or those undergoing surgery, and are likely to stay in their medical tourism destination for a long period.

Singapore has an advantage in attracting Chinese tourists. 70% of the population has Chinese origins. Easier visa policies and more frequent and direct flights mean Chinese tourists are choosing to visit Singapore.

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