Medical tourism is a known concept in many countries around the world and could unlock immense economic potential for Namibia, especially in smaller towns which have very limited and diversified economic capacity.
Fanus Engelbrecht, CEO at MTC Dome in Swakopmund is passionate about the concept. In fact thanks to his visionary leadership, MTC Dome offers a complete package today that both national and international athletes can train and develop, where people can recover from sports injuries or book a stay whilst receiving medical treatment from local medical practitioners.
“I think it is firstly necessary for the leadership of a town to assess what it has on offer already, and with other potential exists for more facilities,” said Engelbrecht adding that location of a town, access to basic services and the state of existing infrastructure are critical elements to consider.
Medical tourism holds huge potential for Namibia and could attract foreign specialists that could co-invest with local specialists in, for instance, the field of cosmetic procedures.
Although medical tourism holds huge potential, Engelbrecht believes Namibian towns should first look at the concept of wellness tourism. Wellness offers a broad spectrum to work from. Towns could offer wellness centres with amenities aimed at rest and recuperation, where people come to rest after surgery, where people could take a break from everyday life and receive proper rest, a healthy diet receives a manicure and a new haircut.
Stakeholders need to work together to create an “ecosystem” of collaboration. An example of this is a local hairdresser, manicurist, dietitian and gym owner collaborating with guest farms in the area or with a local hotel.
“Namibians need to stay informed and explore these opportunities. It is quite possible that a town’s unique features can be matched with any of these services,” he concluded.
Extract from “Spotlight on Wealth & Wellness” supplement (Namibian, July 2022), written by Floris Steenkamp. Read the full article.
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