The Indonesian government relaxes laws to allow medical tourism, and time will tell if it will impact foreign investment and property prices.
Indonesia is currently most famous for its spa treatments and holiday destinations. But this is set to change as an MoU was signed between the tourism ministry and the health ministry for the development of international medical tourism, on Sept. 26 – 27, 2017 at the Tourism National Coordination Meeting III. The Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) appears set to relax the laws on medical tourism by removing it from the Negative Investment List. To get an idea of what this may mean to the economy, Thailand is world renown for medical tourism, attracting international visitors to undergo surgeries in their world-class facilities, and this resulted in 3.2 billion dollars of foreign exchange in 2011 alone.
At a glance:
- Indonesia is set to develop international medical tourism
- The MoU has been signed by the tourism ministry and health ministry
- The Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board is removing it from the Negative Investment List
- Indonesians are currently spending 1.4 billion dollars for overseas medical treatment
- New local facilities should repatriate this money
- Better healthcare in Indonesia should increase its appeal as a retirement destination
“The development of medical tourism in Indonesia has a big potential considering the location and Indonesia’s advantages for medical tourism. It’s also worth noting the number of Indonesians who travel abroad to get medical treatment,” said Tourism Ministry’s Secretary, Ukus Kuswara.
In 2006, it was estimated 350,000 Indonesians underwent medical treatment overseas spending of 500 million dollars. The latest calculation estimates 600,000 Indonesians travelled overseas for medical treatment spending 1.4 billion dollars.
Both ministries will form a taskforce with hospital, spa and other health association representatives to help push private sectors to build leading upscale hospitals and traditional health facilities.
“Indonesian healthcare providers are aggressively investing in new facilities and equipment. I think they are successful in encouraging patients to stay local, particularly now with the use of universal healthcare,” said Dr. Beng Teck Liang, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Medical Group.
Improving these facilities and building more will lead to greater investment in the Indonesian private sector, and repatriate Indonesians’ overseas health spending. Patients will only stay for treatment in Indonesia if they can have access to world-class and experienced surgeons and specialists in complex cases.
Some of the drawbacks of retiring to places like Bali in the past were feeling isolated from family and friends, and the healthcare system. But these improvements to the system and facilities may have an impact on property values if Bali becomes more attractive for investment.
Sources: Edelman, Singapore Business Review, BKPM, The Jakarta Post