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25/04/2020 - 09:34

Combining tourism with medical treatment, Vietnam will become an attractive destination

Vietnam has long been considered a safe destination in the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, Vietnam was still highly appreciated for its efforts to control the disease and considered as the safest destination.

Tourists visiting Hue heritages. Photo: Nguyen Khoa Huy 

Not long ago, the health sector implemented a strategy on “attracting tourists to Vietnam for relaxation and medical treatment”. Thua Thien Hue province is aiming at constructing an intensive health center, and is having Hue Central Hospital as the nation’s leading medical address. Therefore, the province’s guideline is developing the strategy on “Combining tourism with relaxation and medical treatment for foreign tourists”.

Thua Thien Hue Provincial Party Committee issued the Resolution No. 11-NQ/TU for building Thua Thien Hue to be an intensive health center of the Central region and the whole country in the period of 2012-2015 and with a vision to 2020, included the goal of completing the restoration of the Thai Y Vien (Royal Medical Clinic) under the Nguyen Dynasty - an address for medical tourism.

However, the implementation of the above-mentioned strategies or targets have not been effective. Vietnamese people still spend about USD 2 billion annually on medical treatments abroad while most foreign tourists visit Vietnam mainly for sightseeing rather than medical treatment purposes.

Can everything be changed? In my opinion, it will be changed upon the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most clearest evidence is that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a worldwide crisis with over a million people infected and tens of thousands of deaths meanwhile in Vietnam, only 268 cases were confirmed (updated statistics on April 21st, 2020). The country is also one of the three countries with more than 200 cases yet no death has been reported.

Then, millions of Vietnamese around the world who are contract workers, students, overseas Vietnamese in developed countries with modern medical industry were rushing back to Vietnam to avoid the pandemic. Or, as in the case of billionaire Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, he had hired a private jet to transport his daughter - the patient No. 32 back home despite the expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with which his daughter could travel to any country with the most advanced and modern health care in the world for the treatment. However, he was still determined to bring his daughter home because he believes in Vietnam’s health sector.

Many of my close friends who currently own small and medium-sized businesses in the United States, Canada, and Australia said: “The whole world highly appreciates Vietnam’s medical capacity. As a Vietnamese, I feel very proud of this. Unfortunately, our work keeps us and our families away from Vietnam during this pandemic. As a result, we are feeling insecure and we have to quarantine ourselves at home. We are fine now but not sure about the coming time. Maybe later, we will return to Vietnam for investments. If there is a natural disaster or an epidemic, Vietnam is always the safest place.”

 “I thought it would be fine in the UK, but I was truly worried after the outbreak of the epidemic with a remarkable increase of deaths. Especially, this country is struggling with their health system. I am staying at home. My food is only sufficient for about 1 month. If I run out of food, I do not know where to buy because the epidemic is around and food is scarce,” impatiently shared my aunt’s daughter, Dieu Linh - a lecturer at Hanoi University of Foreign Languages, who is a Ph.D. student in the UK.

Upon the end of the pandemic, the tourism industry will grow again. It is certain that Vietnam will be the safest destination. More tourists will visit. And, the strategy on “Combining tourism, relaxation and medical treatment for foreign tourists” will get its high efficiency. Notably, Vietnamese people will look back on the country’s health sector so that they will no longer spend billions of dongs on medical treatment abroad as they used to.

By Gia Han

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