Medical tourism from China gets boost

Staff Writer, with CNA

The number of Chinese visitors coming to Taiwan is expected to hit a new high this year with the introduction of a medical visa, medical institutions said yesterday.

Many Chinese are attracted to Taiwan’s high-quality and affordable medical services, said Alex Hung (洪子仁), president of Shin Kong Medical Club, a local health institution that provides comprehensive physical checkups.

Hung’s institution will receive the first batch of Chinese tourists scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Feb. 13 for a seven-day health tour, which will include personalized consultations, CT scans and a number of other tests.

Although Chinese were able to visit Taiwan for medical care before the introduction of the medical visa in December, Hung said that the significance of the initiative lay in the government’s determination to develop medical tourism.

“Taiwan is sending a message that it is going all out on medical tourism,” he said.

Jennifer Huang, director of Show Chwan Health Care System’s Taipei Office, said she was confident that more Chinese would visit Taiwan for medical care.

Huang, whose institute will receive the second group of medical tourists from Urumqi in Xinjiang Autonomous Region later this month, said her company was hoping to receive 300 Chinese clients each month.

Thirty hospitals and institutions have applied to the Department of Health to receive Chinese medical tourists, Bureau of Medical -Affairs head Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said.

While acknowledging Taiwan’s reputation for quality medical care, Shih highlighted the nation’s advanced medical facilities and techniques, saying that disease treatment would generate more revenue and enhance the country’s visibility in the international community.

According to statistics from the Tourism Bureau, Chinese made 1.78 million visits to Taiwan last year.