Taiwan: Medical tourism requires cooperation to succeed

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Taiwanese tour operators are trying to involve more industries in an effort to promote medical tourism, with the latest trial drawing interest from a local airline, according to a local travel agency.

Sammy Yen, general manager of Lion Travel’s medical tourism unit, yesterday said the company had partnered with Taiwan’s second-largest air carrier, EVA Airways Corp, in an experimental campaign that began on Friday to provide medical tours to travelers from Hong Kong and Macau.

COOPERATION NEEDED

The executive said medical tourism in Taiwan would only thrive if different sectors were to team up in similar cooperative strategies.

“By working with airlines or hospitals, we can establish a network instead of relying on random points of business,” he said.

CHINESE TRAVELERS

Yen also said he hoped independent tourists from China would provide a boost to the sector.

“The upcoming individual trips offer visitors more flexibility and privacy in their tours, which will help contribute to medical tourism,” Yen said.

TOUR GROUPS

Chinese tourists to Taiwan are currently required to visit as members of tour groups rather than independently, but Taipei and Beijing have reportedly discussed allowing independent travelers to enter Taiwan.

Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, a major of player in promoting the medical tourism industry, works with Lion Travel.

However, it added that the government needed to play its part if the sector is to prosper in Taiwan.