Thomas Bömkes is Managing Director of Diversity Tourism and consultant for ITB Berlin and the ITB Academy. He opened the three-day ITB Medical Tourism Conference yesterday, along with Rika Jean-Francois, ITB’s Commissioner of Corporate Social Responsibilty. We asked what is behind the growing importance of Medical Tourism.
There’s a lot of interest in health tourism at ITB. For many destinations this is becoming an important market. There are more clinics worldwide reaching out for medical tourists and more hotels are offering special medical and health treatments. The Visa and Oxford Economics report shows growth in the sector of up to 25% by 2025, globally.
Where can this trend be seen at IFA?
You will nd medical suppliers and buyers from all over the world here. And for the rst time there is a full Medical Tourism Conference programme with presentations, panel discussions and networking events. Our partner, the Medical Travel Quality Alliance, will announce the Top 10 World’s Best Hospitals for Medical Tourists 2019. We will also discuss ndings of the new ETC / UNWTO study Exploring Health Tourism.
There are new exhibitors in this field. Where are they coming from?
We have new exhibitors from Poland, Croatia, Turkey, Romania, Georgia, Albania and India. There are two hair transplant clinics here this year, and a booming medical sector. We also have the European Spa Association and the European Thermal Town Association as new partners this year.
What are some of the main themes and who will be some of the key speakers during the Medical Tourism Conference?
One of our key speakers is Berj Apkarian from the Community Medical Center in San Joaquin Valley, California, who talks about successful bariatric and metabolic methods. We are also discussing the marketing of medical and health tourism packages. ITB’s partner country Malaysia will highlight the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020. We are also discussing the challenges of social and cultural diversity in Medical Tourism and the future of Medical Hotels.
Photo: Thomas Bömkes Managing Director of Diversity Tourism and consultant for ITB Berlin and the ITB Academy
Hall 21b / Stand 214