Bali aims to become medical tourism destination

Already one of the world’s most popular tourist spots, Bali is now aiming one step further to become a prominent medical tourism destination.

In doing so, the Bali provincial administration is now constructing a new hospital that will be equipped with world-class facilities in Sanur. The administration has provided Rp 199 billion (US$14.95 million) of its annual budget for the hospital’s construction.

Bali Health Agency head I Wayan Suarjaya said construction of the hospital had begun last year and was targeted for completion this year. The new Bali Mandara Hospital is being built on a 2.95-hectare plot of land in Sanur and will be able to accommodate 176 inpatients.

Suarjaya said the hospital would be equipped with high-standard facilities, including for bariatric surgery. “So, people can get liposuction and plastic surgery here in Bali,” he said.

The hospital is also designed as an integrated cancer treatment center with facilities for radiodiagnostics, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.

“We need to coordinate with the National Nuclear Energy Agency [Batan], as well as the Drugs and Food Monitoring Agency [BPOM], to ensure that the hospital’s construction will be safe enough to handle procedures using radiation,” Suarjaya said.

Regarding the cancer treatment facilities, he said, the new hospital was expected to be on par with Dharmais Hospital in Jakarta and Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung.

A therapy center for the elderly is also part of the plan. As many pensioners from across the world opt to spend their time in Bali, the hospital is expected to provide a quality service for the elderly.

To meet the demand for alternative medicine, the hospital will also contain health spa facilities, a traditional herbal treatment center and an acupuncture therapy service.

Suarjaya said the provincial administration would consult with international hospital-management experts to help establish a world-class hospital.

“We will prioritize local human resources [to work] in the hospital. But, we are considering cooperating with overseas hospital management in order to establish an internationally recognized hospital service,” he said.

Head of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agency Association (ASITA) Bali Chapter, I Ketut Ardana, said moulding Bali into a medical tourism destination would not be an easy task. “Indeed, there are opportunities to establish medical tourism in Bali. But, it will be a long-term process,” he said.

Ardana said the foremost thing to do was to establish a high-quality hospital. He cited the lessons learned from Singapore and Malaysia, both of which had become popular medical tourism destinations because of their high-standard hospitals with people from all over the world seeking their services.

He expressed hope that the hospital being built by the provincial administration would become a high-standard facility as well. “If the hospital can provide added value, slowly but surely, Bali will become a medical tourism destination,” he said.

Ardana, however, suggested that the administration construct another hospital in a more secluded location, away from the city with natural scenic views. “For medical tourism, I prefer areas such as Bangli regency and Gianyar,” he said.

The Bali Statistics Agency recorded tourist arrivals of 4 million to the resort island in 2015, an increase by 6.24 percent from 3.76 million in 2014. Australian citizens ranked first in foreign tourist arrivals with 24.16 percent, or 966,869 people, to Bali in 2015, followed by China, Japan, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.


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