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Super hospital a booster shot for health tourism

Updated: 2018-02-02

A super hospital in Boao Lecheng, China's first pilot zone for international medical tourism on tropical Hainan Island is expected to open in April, a senior official with the Hainan Health and Family Planning Commission said.

The super hospital will take full advantage of the preferential policies granted to the pilot zone by the central government in 2013, under which foreign companies are able to set up medical organizations in the zone and foreign medicines will have special import tariffs.

Seven departments at the hospital, located 6 kilometers away from the site of the Boao Forum for Asia, will be opened to the public in the first phase, with top doctors on duty from the across the whole country.

"Top medical experts and the best medical practitioners in the nation will be invited to the super hospital, which will be equipped with world-class facilities and infrastructure," said Shen Xiaoming, governor of Hainan province.

The super hospital will help Hainan take advantage of the growing trend for medical tourism, Shen added.

Medical tourism has experienced steady growth in recent years and Hainan, known as China's Florida with its tropical climate, coastal scenery and its ongoing international tourist destination construction, has many advantages in developing the industry.

In recent years traditional Chinese medicine, also called TCM, has consolidated and gained worldwide prestige in Hainan, especially among people from Russian speaking regions. Tourists from Russia account for the largest proportion of all visitors to Hainan.

As of November last year, the province had welcomed more than 250,000 Russians. Most of them were treated with TCM in Sanya, the well-known resort on the southern tip of the island, as well as bathing in the sun and on the white sandy beaches.

A public-private partnership cancer hospital with state-of-the-art facilities and 1,200 beds opened last year in Haikou, capital city of Hainan, targeting wealthy medical travelers from outside the province.

The Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone, the only one of its kind in China, with a design area of 20 square kilometers, is expected to be completed in five years. To date, 27 projects have been completed or are under construction.

"The zone will be a new spot to attract more Kazakh tourists to visit Hainan," said Nurgaliyeva Saule, the commercial counselor of the embassy of Kazakhstan in China, after a tour in the zone in early January.

The zone is expected to receive 5 million healthcare seekers from home and abroad annually after all the projects are completed, with an estimated business value of 100 billion yuan ($15.37 billion) a year.

Hot spring treatments are also on the rise in Hainan. There are a total of 34 hot spring locations distributed across the whole island. A number of hot spring resorts have been set up. Hilton is one of them. It has opened a branch in Baoting autonomous county of the Li and Miao ethic groups, one of the famous hot spring tourist destinations in Hainan.


A bird's eye view of the under construction Hainan Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone project.