The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is making efforts to expand its medical tourism industry, building on its strong health foundations, location and ideal environment to attract new investment in specialised medicine
Though a small group of islands, the TCI has a very high level of competence in the medical sector. Now, the government is seeking to leverage the country’s expertise by promoting its medical tourism offer in the UK, US and further afield.
Every island in the Turks and Caicos, no matter how small the population, has primary healthcare clinics. The country possesses locally and internationally owned medical facilities, private physicians, a state-of-the-art hospital with two operational sites and doctors trained throughout the world. The two hospital sites on Grand Turk and Providenciales both have facilities and space for private patients, and the island environment – a warm climate and year-round sun – is conducive to good health. As it stands, the life expectancy in the Turks and Caicos, at 80 years, is nearly identical to that of the much wealthier UK.
“People can come to the Turks and Caicos, do their procedure here, their family can come with them on holiday, then they can recover in this beautiful environment and go back home with a healthy mind, body and soul,” says TCI’s health minister Edwin Astwood. “In terms of cost, TCI is right in the middle. We have a very high-quality product at reasonably affordable prices.”
Astwood also believes the country’s location, global connectivity, business environment and safety make TCI the ideal place to further develop the medical tourism sector. The minister, whose portfolio also spans agriculture, sports and human services, is actively looking for investors to set up medical clinics, especially in orthopaedics and other specialised areas. This, he explains, would be a win-win situation, as it would serve both foreign visitors and the local population.
Patients that Beyond Borders estimates travel for medical purposes each year
The average medical tourism spend, according to Beyond Borders
How much 51% of medical tourists spend, according to a Global Health Resources survey
The total spend of 16% of overseas patients
TCI’s ambitions come as health tourism is increasingly viewed as a high value-added tourism segment globally. A combination of falling costs and improving care abroad, overburdened health insurance systems at home, and an ageing global population requiring more health and social care, have opened up a foreign investment market in which businesses are increasingly finding opportunities.
Investments in medical tourism have focused on creating and distributing innovative technology and know-how, with the rapid pace of technological development posing export opportunities for smart investors in countries with advanced health technology and expertise – such as the UK.