February 2017 | From the moment the world’s first human heart transplant was conducted on the shores of South Africa back in the 1960s, the world has engaged with the country as a hub of medical excellence, and its impact has cast a larger net across the continent, as it grows from strength to strength.
South Africa has a history of excellence in healthcare and healthcare innovation, having positioned itself at the forefront of some of the world’s most celebrated procedures. In recent years, the country has emerged as a serious contender within the Health Tourism industry; one of the fastest growing globally. However, Health Tourism in South Africa and the rest of the continent is relatively new and lacks the organisation and statistics needed to maintain its rise globally. As such, a dire need emerged for the creation of a platform that will allow for open discussions on its current state.
In response to this need, Pan-African Health Tourism Congress was born.
The first of its kind targeted at not only South Africa, but the rest of the continent, the Congress will bring together experts from around the world who will give presentations linking medicine and tourism, and build a business case for the viability of the industry. Poised for significant growth with South Africa in particular, Health Tourism in Africa is currently being positioned to play a significant role within the global framework, given its pioneering role in the medical field, highly-skilled doctors, exceptional medical care, supported by state-of-the-art facilities, along with one of the world’s fastest growing tourism industries in the world.
Leveraging A Global Footprint
Globally, the Health Tourism industry is valued at USD20 billion per year, with some seven million patients annually traveling to different regions across the world to seek healthcare. South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritius have emerged as the clear leaders in the continent with South Africa gaining a reputation as a destination of choice. Furthermore, South Africa, alongside other African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana have a sophisticated, well-developed and organised tourism industry which competes comfortably with some of the best tourism destinations in the world, especially regarding the provision of recuperation facilities.
With the above in mind, the opportunities for Health Tourism on the African continent are extensive. “It is necessary to create a Pan-African platform for engagement and sharing of ideas amongst all the parties in the industry value chain as well as amongst African countries who can benefit from a coordinated industry approach,” shares His Worship, Cllr Mduduzi G. Mhlongo, The Mayor of the City of uMhlathuze. “The Congress will engage industry thought leaders, practitioners, regulators, public sector officials, and international investors to shape the regional and industry agendas of the health tourism sector.”
According to His Worship, Cllr Mduduzi G. Mhlongo, the uMhlathuze Municipality has seen exponential growth in the number of healthcare institution developments in the past few years and future projections indicate that the sector is expected to substantially contribute to the GDP of this region and become a pillar of the economy further encourage investment and development.
“With 4 new medical facilities developments in this area, we hope this move will only encourage adjacent sectors that include the pharmaceutical industry to further invest in drug development facilities that will service a chain of hospitals at their doorstep, while creating jobs for our youth to directly tackle the escalating numbers of youth unemployment “Africa’s ticking time bomb” while bridging the skills gap,” he explains. “The presence of global healthcare players in the country has positively increased competition and enhanced the image of South Africa as a high-tech medical hub with the healthcare sector now shifting gears towards export of services and positioning itself as a health tourism platform for Africa. Africa has grown into a sophisticated healthcare hub with the world taking advantage of the outstanding medical care available in this continent.”
Pan-African Health Tourism Congress was conceived as the African Health Tourism Sector‘s “flagship event” with the specific purpose of exploring a collective strategy that Africa can adopt in order to coordinate its efforts at maximizing its potential within the industry. A diverse continent, African countries offer different opportunities along the health and tourism sectors and these can only be fully explored in a coordinated manner. The stated objective will be achieved by engaging industry thought leaders, practitioners, regulators, public sector officials, and international investors to shape the regional and industry agendas of the Health Tourism sector in order to match their changing business needs.
“One of the key highlights of the conference is that it will showcase existing opportunities for further development, establish South Africa as a thought leader in the African industry and identify much-needed policy and regulation issues ,” His Worship, Cllr Mduduzi G. Mhlongo imparts.
At the event, media will have the opportunity to engage with His Worship, the Mayor, and a select group of esteemed guests of industry thought leaders, practitioners and public sector officials in a discussion panel on the role of medical tourism in improving our GDP, as they highlight the aims of the Congress to be hosted in June.
About The Pan-African Health Tourism Congress
The Pan-African Health Tourism Congress was founded to address the interests and needs of the Health Tourism Stakeholders in Africa. The Congress is being staged to address the issues of Investment, Development, and Promotion in the context of Destinations, Providers and Services. Moreover, the Congress will address the issues of Education, Internships, Career Paths and Employment Opportunities in the Health Tourism Sector.
As the Flagship Event of the African Health Tourism Sector, the Congress has a mandate to expand the Industry to address a broader market, meaning more business for all. The Congress also champions the induction of new blood (the Health Tourism Protégés) into the Sector.
The Congress brings together industry experts, policy makers, providers of services, thought leaders and Health Tourism supporting industries around themes to guide the development and promotion of Africa as first choice Destination for global Health Tourism. This Congress presents new and important opportunities for collaboration and alliances between professionals, asset owners, project developers, health tourism industry players, investment professionals, business, governments and industry associations to improve the understanding and on-going industry reforms.
Deliberations, Masterclasses and Case Studies will highlight the latest investment opportunities, successful investment models and partnerships for the region, as well as the best practices in maximizing ROI on health and wellness assets. The session will conclude with a look at strategies for investing in sustainable innovative initiatives.
The PAHTC 2017 makes the point of bringing together the de facto leaders of the 8 Health Tourism Segments, the Sector-Supporting Industries and government to “thrash out” the most pressing and challenging issues facing the Health Tourism Sector in Africa with regards to knowledge, policy, and strategy, fully reveal what Health Tourism is, and even more importantly, what it can be. The Congress will promote the integration of the Health Tourism segments, the sector supporting industries and the domain stakeholders. Most importantly encourage the formation of Pan African and trans-segment alliances in ensuring that in Africa, no Health Tourism destination.