Walking in the streets of Sanya, Hainan province, one can see many foreigners in this resort city. Some travel here for vacation; some come for study or business and some are here to receive health treatment. A Russian couple comes all the way from their country to Sanya for convalescence. "Both my wife and I are overweighed. Sanya has very good air quality. We go swimming in the sea every day to lose weight, and take acupuncture treatment and massage therapy from time to time. Now, we are both very healthy," the husband said.

Among the 30 million tourists in Hainan, many have come here for health care and vacation like the Russian couple. Medical tourism has become an emerging industry with great market potential. According to the Progress of Asian Economic Integration Annual Report 2011 released by the Boao Forum, the revenue of Asia's medical tourism industry amounted to 34 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, accounting for nearly 13 percent of the world's total, and is expected to reach 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. Statistics shows that the size of the global medical tourism market reached 75 billion U.S. dollars as early as 2010.

Experts said that the importance of medical tourism first lies in its potential to promote the development of related industries such as the transportation, hotel, restaurant, entertainment, and construction industries thanks to its the close relations with primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. Furthermore, the global medical tourism industry generates substantial profits, and has been growing at an annual rate of 20 percent to 30 percent. Medical tourists consume more than twice as much as ordinary tourists do, bringing considerable profits to medical tourism destinations. Various favorable factors have enhanced Hainan's determination to develop its medical tourism industry.

Unique advantage

Hainan, a top spot to go for medical tourism

Richly endowed with tourism resources, Hainan is one of the best places for medical tourism.

Due to multiple factors such as favorable natural and medical conditions as well as the increasing market demand, Hainan has started planning for the development of medical tourism, and has obtained approval from the State Council to build the medical tourism-themed Boao Lecheng. The provincial government plans to develop Lecheng into a globally famous medical tourism destination.

Huge potential

During the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2012, experts said that Hainan still has a long way to go in medical tourism, and should take the following four measures to boost the development of the industry. First, it should establish an industry association to improve management. Second, it should effectively integrate various resources, and develop a series of medical tourism products. Third, it should encourage local hospitals to obtain international hospital accreditation in order to attract foreign medical tourists. Finally, it should properly integrate traditional Chinese medicine with tourism.


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