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International Healthcare Travel Forum to kick off on October 26

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Oct 13,2019 - Last updated at Oct 13,2019

AMMAN — The Kingdom has witnessed a 25 per cent drop in the rate of medical tourists since 2016, according to the Private Hospitals Association (PHA).

During a press conference held on Saturday to announce the "International Healthcare Travel Forum" (IHTF2019) in Amman from October 26-28, PHA President Fawzi Hammouri attributed the decrease to former prime minister Abdullah Ensour's government’s decision to suspend and restrict certain visas for Arab nationals visiting Jordan for medical purposes. 

Competition has increased in recent years among countries that attract medical tourists, Hammouri said, noting the "we do not have the luxury of time and we have to prove Jordan’s capabilities in various branches of medical tourism".

The PHA president announced that the IHTF2019 will be the “largest” forum concerned with medical tourism and health travel in the region, organised by the association in cooperation with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Arab Hospital Federation (AHF), with support from the Jordan Tourism Board. 

"The forum discusses the regulations and instructions that facilitate the process of bringing patients, and the support to Jordan's competitiveness with other countries in the field," Hammouri said. 

He added that the health sector looks forward to the easing of visa restrictions.

The health sector in Jordan targets 250,000 medical tourists annually, while current figures show that there are only 200,000 annual medical visitors, he said. 

The forum will host over 700 participants from 45 Arab and foreign countries, including ministers who will give lectures on medical tourism and travelling for health, in addition to laws governing medical care and patients' experiences, among other related topics. 

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