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Foreign tourists normally pour into Vietnam to see colonial architecture and limestone jutting out of the sea. Now some are headed to Vietnam’s clinics and hospitals. They’re part of Asia’s latest medical tourism industry.
Vietnamese officials hope medical tourists will emerge from the threefold increase in arrivals between 2010 and 2018. The key attractions: dentists and cosmetic surgery.
Vietnam’s political stability, affordability of healthcare and the relatively high quality of certain types of medicine are driving the incipient trend already, country analysts say. Vietnam stands to join Asian peers such as Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan as magnets for medical tourism, yet charge less.
“I do see a trend of people coming here. It is cheaper to get things done here than it is in Thailand and definitely Singapore,” said Mike Lynch, managing director with SSI Institutional Brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City. “The biggest group is cosmetic surgery. There’s a lot of it going on here.”
Money maker for Vietnam
More than 80,000 foreigners have traveled to Vietnam so far for medical “examinations and treatments” the government-run Vietnam Investment Review news website says, and they contributed combined income of more than $1 billion. The country’s medical sector grows 18% to 20% per cent every year, the website adds.
Business consultancy Dezan Shira & Associates places the 2017 revenue alone at $2 billion. “Vietnam is emerging as a key player in Southeast Asia’s medical tourism industry,” the consultancy says.
Tran Quoc Bao, the planning and marketing director at City International Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, told a regional conference earlier this year that Vietnam was a “preferred hub for healthcare and wellness services”, the investment review says.
Revenue from Singapore and Thailand suggest that medical tourism pays. The Tourism Authority of Thailand anticipated 26 billion baht ($860 million) in gross medical tourism revenue last year, up 14% over 2017, Thai media report. Singapore’s medical tourism revenue grew at a 10% compound annual growth rate in the to 2017, when it stood at $1 billion Singapore dollars ($737 million), online magazine Healthcare Asia says.
Medical tourism generates at least one-third of private hospital revenue in most Southeast Asian countries, and the Asia Pacific was the world’s biggest medical tourism market as of 2017, Zion Market Research has found, as cited by the travel news website TTG Asia.
Between 2010 and 2018, the number of foreign tourists in Vietnam grew from 5 million to more than 15 million.
General Statistics Office data show that more than 2.8 million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam from January through July this year and the number of South Korean tourists rose 22% over a period against the same span of 2018 to more than 2.4 million arrivals. China and South Korea are the top two sources of tourism.
In coastal vacation spots frequented by these tourists – the likes of Phu Quoc and Da Nang — resorts have “tried to integrate facilities to make them more suitable for medical tourism”, Dezan Shira says.
Dentistry is attracting Australians in “droves” as cosmetic surgery draws South Koreans, said Ralf Matthaes, founder of the Infocus Mekong Research consultancy in Ho Chi Minh City. Some of the dentists studied overseas and returned to Vietnam for work, he said. Resident Koreans are among the cosmetic surgeons.
Dental work costs one-tenth of the prices asked in North America and the quality of doctors is slowly picking up, Lynch said. Regional medical service firms will eventually set up offices in Vietnam if not there already, he forecast.
Risks and opportunities
Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand still have a better reputation for general healthcare. In Thailand, for example, foreigners visit hospitals for full-blown checkups that test for tumors, blood sugar and any cardiovascular problems.
Matthaes, a Vietnam dweller of 25 years, warned against hospital care in Vietnam. He said doctors put in the “wrong hardware” after he broke a leg and that successful medical malpractice lawsuits are rare.
“I would say it’s spotty at best, but if it comes to dental, and if it comes to plastic surgery, yes,” he said.
Paying extra can reduce risk and add comfort, yet a bill often still comes in below what patients would pay in a more developed country.
American energy consultant John Rockhold, 67, said his wife stayed in a hospital for four days to give birth.
“To me things have really improved,” said Rockhold, a Vietnam War veteran. “We’ve had our children here. My wife had to have a caesarian and we stayed in one of the international hospitals. I paid for the extra to have a suite. My mother in- law could stay with her, and she could order from five or six different restaurants. She was in there like four days and I got a bill of $1,200.” (VOA)
A Travel Sustainable badge, provides highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industryNinety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year, and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a huge opportunity to highlight more of the impactful efforts its partners are making to create more sustainable experiences, making it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay.
Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industry | Photo by yousef alfuhigi on Unsplash
With 88 percent of Indian travellers indicating that they would be more likely to choose a specific accommodation that implements sustainable practices, it rewards and encourages providers to take the next steps on their individual sustainability journeys. "Building a truly sustainable travel industry will take time, coordination, and concerted effort," said Marianne Gybels, Director of Sustainability at Booking.com. "However, progress is possible through continued innovation, partner support, and industry collaboration."
"We are recognising the sustainability efforts of a broader range of properties globally in a credible and transparent manner for consumers." Displaying the practices they have in place allows everyone to make a more informed and hopefully more sustainable decision for their next trip, no matter where they want to go. As a result, we've inspired even more of our partners to take the next step toward more sustainable operations."
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: travel, sustainable travel, india, travellers, innovation.
South Korean game developer has introduced a new initiative for Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) which will enable a new level of parental control via time limitations and OTP confirmation. The 'Game Responsibly' initiative will also show warning messages along with break reminders, game limits and more. "Every player, below the age of 18, needs to register a parent or a guardian before they start playing for the first time. An OTP will be sent to the registered person's number, post which the minor is allowed to play the game," the company said in a statement.
Some games can get intense and make players lose track of time. However, with timely break-time reminders, the developer has made sure players get the required downtime. These reminders will help them look up from their game and get back to real life, maintaining a healthy game-life balance. In addition, with a strict gameplay limit in place players below 18 years must not indulge in gaming for more than 3 hours per day. This automatically helps them treat gaming as an activity performed in moderation.
The brand has also set an in-game daily spend limit of Rs 7,000 that automatically stops them from overspending and overgaming. Krafton recently announced that it has removed 25 lakh accounts in just over a month to eradicate cheating on Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI). Since the last announcement, between October 1 and November 10, Krafton banned 25,19,692 accounts permanently and 7,06,319 temporarily. "The company has cleaned out most of the cheaters in the game, making BGMI a much more fun experience, and will continue to take whatever step is necessary to keep BGMI fair and fun," it claimed. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: BGMI, parental control, Battlegrounds Mobile India, Krafton, South Korea
By Vinoda Kumary
The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. | Wikimedia Commons
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. | Pixabay
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest. It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. | Needpix
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus. Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients. | Photo by Bruna Branco on Unsplash
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same. Pranayama, the practice of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. | Photo by kike vega on Unsplash
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
People with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo. | Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Yoga, exercise, Nasal Irrigation, Diet, Chronic Bronchitis, Respiratory Issues