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A study on the influence of Health Tourism in Kingston, Jamaica.
Raschell Linton
Western Hospitality Institute
Lecturer: Odaine James
November 3, 2014.

This is a research study of the influence of Health Tourism in Kingston, Jamaica. Medical tourism can be defined as the process of traveling outside the country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care. What really puts the word "tourism" in health tourism is that people often stay in Jamaica after a medical procedure. Travelers thus take advantage of their visit by sightseeing, adventure or participating in any other traditional tourism activities. This research presents a strategic outline of the influence of medical tourism's growth for health systems. Analysis of the influence of medical tourism on health is also identified. It also conceptualizes the implementing and maintaining Health Tourism in terms of financial benefit, employment, and tourists’ wellness. The environment becomes of great concern where Health Tourism is concerned. Deforestation will be a major factor because Jamaica has to accommodate the amount of tourists visiting Jamaica, thus resulting in cutting down the trees to provide more space and even build more buildings. With this in mind the Government will be taking actions along with strategic planning to ensure this project runs smoothly and effectively, to increase productivity and new and improved equipment.
Keywords: Health Tourism, Influence, Maintain, JAMPRO, Tourist, Commonwealth.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Influence of Health Tourism in Kingston, Jamaica 4-6
Statement of Problem 6-7
Research Questions 7-8
Significance of Study 8
Definition of Terms 9
Reference 10

Chapter 1
Influence of Health Tourism in Kingston, Jamaica.
The concept of Medical Tourism or Health Tourism is almost as old as medicine itself. Long before the first American cardiac patient stepped onto Indian soil, the country enjoyed a rich history of providing Yoga instruction and spiritual enlightenment, healing to seekers from around the world. The first recorded instance of medical tourism dates back thousands of years to when Greek pilgrims traveled from all over the Mediterranean. Epidauria became the original travel destination for medical tourism. Spa towns and sanitariums may be considered an early form of medical tourism. In eighteenth century England, for example, patients visited spas because they were places with supposedly health-giving mineral waters, treating diseases from gout to liver disorders and bronchitis.
Health Tourism means travelling for the purpose of improving or preserving health. Health Tourism can be treated as an ‘umbrella’ team, which includes: Medical Tourism, Spa Tourism, and Wellness Tourism. Health and Wellness Tourism is now an international trend for consumers to enhance their well-being through travel experiences. These types of consumers seek to lose weight, feel better, keep healthy, and obtaining the necessary body nutrients needed for development and growth. Tourism Product Development Co. Ltd concluded, “resorts and hotels are joining the health spa development craze, although only some resorts are moving into the scope of services currently offered by destination spas. Likewise, a growing number of day spas are adding health and wellness programming options.”
There is a distinct difference that is made between wellness and health aspects of tourism. Wellness is when consumers travel to maintain proper diet, exercise, and habits, while heath is when consumers travel to treat their medical conditions and seek therapy. In Jamaica, most well recognized hotels are expanding their service to accommodate guests, because spa therapy is one of the core factors while on vacation. The increasing demands for this type of activity could be an opportunity for potential investors in Tourism. The transformation of Health Tourism in Jamaica in a regional health hub is achievable, based on several indicators favorable to Jamaica (Ferguson, 2014). Jamaica is at the center of the Caribbean, which tells us that Jamaica’s favorable health indicators and levels of service put them in line with First World requirements. Ferguson (2014) stated, “The Ministries of Health, Tourism and Entertainment are collaborating to ensure the establishment of Jamaica’s first health tourism facility in Montego Bay. This will be a 75-bed facility which will be scaled up over three years with an investment of over US$200 million. Health tourism is not a faraway dream; it is a present reality.” Jamaica has a clear advantage over many other countries, with its offering of natural spas like Bath Fountain in St Thomas and Milk River in Clarendon, but these areas need serious investment to reach first world standards. Treating persons from overseas also has big potential, and Jamaica has a distinct advantage given our proximity to the US. Research has shown that among the major players in health tourism at this time are countries such as India, Singapore, Thailand, and Cuba, which currently earn a significant sum from the lucrative market. Years ago, MoBay Hope, a private medical center in Montego Bay, St James, was the place to go for plastic surgeries. People from all over the world came to Jamaica to access the service. However, Jamaica has not offered that service for six years or more. The Jamaica Gleaner revealed that “Jamaica could emulate the Far East by setting up centers that offer health range of services. They (Far East countries) have put in resources which do not limit them to plastic surgery. They do open-heart surgeries and gynecological services in palatial settings that they have set up.”
Jamaica is investing heavily in Health and Wellness Tourism. The island’s investment and export promotion agency, JAMPRO, has secured technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat to undertake the development of the growth of health and wellness tourism to facilitate the country's entry into the multi-billion dollar global medical tourism industry. Many medical tourists are already travelling to other cost-effective countries and saving up to 90 per cent on the cost of high quality medical care, which shows that Jamaica needs to develop Health Tourism effectively. Davidson (2014) stated “In 2011, the number of tourists coming to Jamaica topped over two million. In 2008, it was one million plus, so the number of tourists coming to Jamaica doubled between 2008 and 2011 and 2012. The population increased by 40 per cent since 1974, yet services have not kept pace with those demands.” As a result, resources have gone to waste and tourists’ arrivals have decreased, all because of the lack of consistency. However, measures have been put in place to tackle these issues and curb it, so as to increase productivity.

Statement of the Problem The Statement of the Problem is basically the Influence of Health Tourism in Kingston, Jamaica. The issue or problem is the development of Health Tourism to increase tourist arrivals. Critical and sensible decisions relating to staff deployment or hiring are made difficult by the dictates of old arrangements clashing with modern administrative methods and new demands, because of the cost of Health Tourism-which represents a well-recognized phenomenon that is expected to grow in the next decade. Cost is the key factor involved in the decision to receive medical care in Jamaica. The primary reason that clinics and hospitals in Jamaica are able to lower their prices is directly related to the nation's economic status. The direct correlation with per capita gross domestic product of the country is observed, which is a proxy for income levels. As a consequence, surgery prices lower in Jamaica. Depending on the type of insurance a tourist has, and depending on the type of procedure he/she need, they might not be fully covered if you travel abroad. They will want to check with the insurance carrier and see what portion of the final bill is willing to cover. In the past, Medical Tourism was largely relegated to the cosmetic surgery industry, thus, insurance usually wasn't a major factor since elective procedures aren't normally covered. By traveling outside their home country to Jamaica for medical care, medical tourists may encounter unfamiliar legal issues, such as hospitals and doctors may be unable to pay the financial damages awarded by a court to a patient who has sued them, owing to the hospital and the doctor not possessing appropriate insurance cover. Most people coming for medical treatment to Jamaica tend to combine travel and tourism along with the medical procedure. This means that when they come for the treatment has to build more hotels to accommodate the ever growing number of tourists. The government resorts to deforestation to build more hotels because medical tourism is a way of earning revenue and foreign exchange. In addition, medical tourism is also responsible for contributing to increased air emissions, noise, solid waste and littering, releases of sewage, oil and chemicals, even visual pollution; all which has negative impact on the environment. Research Questions 1. What are the advantages of promoting Health Tourism in Kingston, Jamaica? 2. A). How does the Government, tourists, and locals benefit from these promotions? 3. What are the economic benefits of Health Tourism? 4. What are the disadvantages of losing tourists when Health Tourism is implemented? 4. B). What role/s does the Government play to ensure Health Tourism is booming and runs smoothly? 5. What recommendations will be acknowledged to ensure perfect stability and use of equipment in Health Tourism? Significance of Study I am attending an Introduction to Tourism class at Western Hospitality Institute in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I have been learning that Health Tourism play a significant role in the increase of tourists arrivals to Jamaica. However, over the years, Jamaica has been very complacent in improving Health Tourism. Because of this, the number of tourists’ arrivals to Jamaica is decreasing, and Jamaica depends solely on Tourism. This research will benefit me as an upcoming professional in the field of Hospitality, tourists, hospitals, clinics, and future researchers as well, to aid in understanding the influence of Health Tourism, the role/s the Government play in implementing Health Tourism impacts, and also the benefits and positive effects that Health Tourism will offer in Jamaica. Furthermore, through understanding the influence of Health Tourism, I hope to see actions being taken to maintaining Health Tourism and ensure it runs smoothly. These actions that would be taken would increase the economic development and health of tourists, locals, employees, and the government would benefit significantly. This would make them knowledgeable, healthy, and aware of these issues and measures taken to improve these problems.

Definition of Terms 1. Health Tourism – Health Tourism means travelling for the purpose of improving or preserving health. 2. Tourist – someone who travels for pleasure, leisure, and health reasons, etc. 3. Commonwealth – a nation or state governed by the people. 4. Influence – power to sway or affect based on prestige, wealth, ability, or position. 5. Maintain – to keep an existing state, preserve or retain something important. 6. JAMPRO – Jamaica Promotion Cooperation is to promote the development of trade and industry, and export and investment activities in all sectors of the island’s economy. The agency drives this process through focus on manufacturing, tourism, agri-business, information and communication technology, mining, and professional services.

References * Davidson, W. (2014). “Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries: Ja’s health tourism sector gets a boost.” * Ferguson, F. (2014). “Jamaica Observer: Favorable indicators for development of health tourism.” * * * http://www.jamaica-gleaner.comgleaner/20120422/lead/lead2.html. *

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