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International Healthcare Travel Forum kicks off in Amman


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Annually, Jordan attracts over 250,000 patients from all over the world, who enjoy high-quality medical and hospitality services across the Kingdom.
Medical tourism destinations include the Dead Sea, Maeen Falls, Wadi Rum, Jerash and Amman, according to a video shown during the opening ceremony of the International Healthcare Travel Forum (IHTF) 2019, which kicked off on Saturday in Amman.
IHTF 2019 was organised by the Private Hospitals Association (PHA) under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah, in cooperation with the Arab Hospitals Federation and the Global Healthcare Travel Council (GHTC). 
Deputising for His Majesty, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz delivered the keynote address, saying: "The medical tourism healthcare sector is available for all, and we take pride in the unparalleled services it provides."
The government, he noted, is coordinating with many countries about visas for restricted nationalities, a matter that the PHA has urged the government to address “many times” in the past, with the intended goal being to boost medical tourism. 
"We are still coordinating with neighbouring countries, and this matter has a security aspect... especially since it is not easy to differentiate those who are seeking refuge in Jordan or other countries from other visitors," Razzaz said.
"This, however, will not be an excuse to restrict those nationalities; and so we will face this challenge and achieve both the goal of safety and supporting this sector to boost the national economy," he added.
Integration of the medical and tourism sectors has “progressed well”, the premier said, citing several examples of new offices, boards and boosted coordination among the concerned entities.
Private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical labs and tourism and banking agencies attended the forum.
Jordan has become one of the top medical tourism destinations in the world due to its doctors’ expertise, according to the video.
"In the seventies, the first open-heart surgery was performed in the Kingdom, as well as the first kidney transplant and the first IVF birth...," the video showed, citing other achievements in the sector.  
It added: "Jordan has a strategic location that connects the West with the East, with a favourable climate for those looking for treatment and luxury, and friendly diplomatic relations, making it a tourist destination for many, especially given the easy visa issuance process."
For his part, Fawzi Hammouri, the forum's chairman, chairman of the PHA and honorary president of the GHTC, said that the purpose of the forum is to exchange expertise and improve cooperation among participating countries. 
Hammouri noted the economic aspect of the sector, adding: "Studies show that revenues of the sector globally amount to over $100 billion annually, at a growth rate of five per cent, which has led more countries around the world to invest in this field."
"Two years ago in this very place, Jordan hosted the Global Healthcare Travel Forum, which witnessed the participation of over 600 people from 42 countries, and it concluded with the Amman Declaration," Hammouri said.
The Amman Declaration seeks to expand the scope of the medical tourism sector in Jordan to eight internationally recognised segments. Known as the Health Travel 8, the segments include traditional medical tourism, dental tourism, spa tourism, wellness tourism, sport tourism, culinary tourism, accessible tourism and assisted residential tourism, which serves visitors with diseases or disabilities.
The IHTF 2019 continues until October 28th, with the exhibition showcasing the latest technologies in private hospital in the Kingdom as well as booths for other participating countries. The IHTF 2019 is hosting guests from 48 countries, including senior and junior officials, parliamentarians, doctors and university students, among others, according to organisers. 

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