Renowned for its ancient wonders like the Great Sphinx of Giza and pyramids, Egypt is now placing emphasis on medical tourism as part of its strategy to diversify its tourism offerings. With the medical tourism market projected to exceed $180 billion by 2025, the Egyptian government is taking significant steps to facilitate the travel of medical tourists throughout the country.
Asaad M. Riad, the general manager of Egypt In-Touch Assistance, a company specializing in medical services, highlighted the substantial investments made by Egyptian authorities in infrastructure development. This includes the enhancement of highways and major roads, aimed at providing smoother and more convenient journeys for medical tourists.
“Over the years, Egypt has established itself as a front-runner in medical tourism,” stated Kenneth Vasquez Laya, Director of Egypt Tourism USA, referring to the country’s prominent position as the 14th-ranked medical tourism industry globally, according to the Medical Tourism Index.
Egypt Simplifies Visa Procedures and Explores Metaverse Technology to Boost Medical Tourism:
Egyptian authorities have taken steps to streamline the visa application process, ensuring easier access to medical services for international patients. Measures include the introduction of online visas and visas on arrival, allowing patients to extend their stays in Egypt for extended periods.
Furthermore, the Egyptian government has unveiled plans to leverage the metaverse, an emerging virtual world where individuals engage with one another through digital platforms, as a means to promote medical tourism. Ahmed el-Sobky, Chair of the General Authority for Health Care in Egypt, highlighted the potential of metaverse technology in offering virtual visits to healthcare facilities, granting users a glimpse of the amenities they provide.
Obstacles Confronting the Medical Tourism Sector
“Egypt’s regulatory environment can be challenging as there are incomplete regulations in place for this industry so far,” expressed Riad.
Elaborating on the concept of “incomplete regulations,” Riad highlighted the absence of a specific law that governs medical tourism practitioners in Egypt. He further emphasized the lack of an authority responsible for overseeing and managing the industry.
Additionally, many visitors do not have insurance coverage for medical treatments obtained in Egypt, making it financially burdensome for them to afford healthcare services in the country. Egypt faces competition from other nations, such as South Africa, Turkey, and Morocco, which have made substantial investments in medical tourism.
“Egypt becomes more competitive by having better pricing than its competitors,” stated Riad, emphasizing the need to promote medical facilities in major destinations like Cairo and Aswan.