As Bali moves to diversify the tourism sector, one type of tourism, in particular, is emerging as a leading priority. Health and wellness tourism is predicted to become of of the central features of Bali’s tourism industry in the next few years. While Bali has become synonymous with wellness travel, there will be an even greater focus on medical, health, and wellness tourism in the next few years.
Minister of Tourism and Creative Economies Sandiaga Uno is keen to promote Bali as a health tourism destination. Speaking at the B20 event as part of the business arm of the G20 Summit, Minster Uno said that he hopes the dialogue will shift and there will be more investment in the Sanur Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the coming years, as well as health tourism more broadly.
Minster Uno told reporters, “Bali is not only a tourism destination but also for health-based tourism, including for healing and mental health care. I think this is a great opportunity”. The Tourism Minister has pledged to create 4.4 million new jobs in the tourism and creative economies sector by 2024, many of which he hopes will be in the health tourism space.
He continued, “So there are big [health] conferences with doctors, usually in Miami or Las Vegas… we want to move them here. We want to offer Bali as a place for them to gather because this SEZ happens to be in Bali…And most importantly, it also opens 2.37 million jobs in the health-based tourism sector”.
There are four key focus areas for developing health tourism in Bali. First is to tap into Indonesia’s herbal and traditional medicine wisdoms and integrate them into the current medical system, as outlined by Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster in October. The second is improving hospital resources and staffing to take hospital services to the next level. The shift to promoting medical tourism integrates with the diversification directive to promote sports tourism.
Sports tourism will be promoted for professional athletes and games but also under the umbrella of medical and health tourism as a preventive health approach. Finally, health since tourism will focus on inviting large international medical conferences to Bali. This has already been secured for 2023, when the 15th International Medical Council Conference will see over 2,000 medical professionals convene in Bali for the event.
As a part of the G20, the Future of Wellness Tradition event was hosted at the Bali Collective in Nusa Dua on Monday, 14th November. The event served as an effort to start a conversation around wellness and promote Indonesia’s wellness sector nationally.
The Chairman of the Indonesia Wellness Institute (IWI), Paulus Mintarga, presented a speech at the first Future Wellness Traditions event and identified the importance of holistic health. He explained how wellness is becoming increasingly essential as chronic diseases are on the rise, primarily triggered by lifestyle factors. Chronic diseases are cited as being responsible for 71% of deaths globally. In the long term, chronic disease is one of the biggest public health challenges and has been referred to as an ’emerging pandemic.’
He continued to explain the economic benefits of a thriving wellness sector for Indonesia. “The growth of the wellness industry is 6.6 percent, higher than the world average economic growth of 4 percent. Even in the U.S., real estate wellness reached 23 percent. In the future, wellness tourism will become a trend”.
“But why is Indonesia’s wellness not yet known to the world? This is because our wellness is considered to have no DNA. So departing from the strength of our traditions, we develop wellness products with a tradition-based character. That’s why future wellness is a tradition, starting with Java, Bali, and other areas because many other areas have not been explored.”
Bali has a lot of optimism for the health and wellness space. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Indonesia Wellness Institute (IWI), Gibran Rakabuming, closed his speech by saying, “Currently, world demand in developed countries for wellness products continues to grow. The value is around IDR 16 thousand trillion. We have extraordinary potential.”
“We have an extraordinary wealth of biodiversity, which is a source of wellness products. And we also have traditions of Javanese wellness, Balinese wellness, and other regions. So this will become an economic strength in the future, especially MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises]“.
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