The target of 100,000 medical tourists by 2010 was unrealistic and instead an annual growth of 25 per cent to reach 15,000 by the end of 2011 is a more realistic figure. Nitin Pandea who spearheads the medical tourism sector at the Board of Investment shared this on Friday.
Pandea added that the nation was on the right path, with costs for medical facilities slightly more expensive than what is offered to medical tourists in India, which targets between 400,000 and 500,000 medical tourists annually, but cheaper than Singapore which attracts 400,000 annually. The winner in this segment, said Pandea, continues to be Thailand with 10,00,000 patients visiting for medical care annually.
“The prospective for growth is huge as investors from India and the Middle East are very interested to invest and follow into the footsteps of Apollo and Fortis among others,” said Pandea.
“We also benefit a lot from the lack of facility in regional countries as at least 10 patients from Seychelles and Madagascar visit us daily,” he added.
The press meet was organised by the BoI and was chaired by the director of the investment promotion body, Prakash Maunthrooa, at his office in Port Louis on Friday.
Maunthrooa said Mauritius was not secure from any future “financial tsunami”. He added, “We still do not know the financial consequences and impact of the Japanese catastrophes.”
Maunthrooa said 2010 was an excellent year with almost Rs 14 billion in investment despite natural catastrophes in Australia, India, Pakistan, China and Brazil that had a negative impact on the economy. This year began on a sour note too with the political turmoil in the Arab world, which caused soaring prices of oil, and the Japanese crisis.
Maunthrooa also spoke of the need for an outward policy for investment into Africa as China and Europe increasingly set up businesses here. Africa represents a huge opportunity with resilient growth of up to nine per cent.