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Asia Minute: Mayo Clinic helping develop medical tourism on Bali

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The Omicron variant has definitely complicated the travel and hospitality industry — not only in Hawaiʻi, but around the world. One country in the Asia Pacific is developing a different kind of tourism with a famous American partner.

Indonesia is moving ahead with medical tourism — building a new hospital on the resort island of Bali.

The country is getting help from a well-known international brand when it comes to health care: the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic.

Many countries in Southeast Asia have built up hospital capacity with a target of serving overseas clients.

For Indonesia, an initial goal is to stop some of its own citizens and residents from going to other countries for medical treatment.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters this week that about 2 million Indonesians travel to other countries for medical treatment every year — spending what the government estimates to be the equivalent of nearly US$7 billion in the process.

Some of the most popular destinations for medical treatment outside the country, for those who can afford it, include Singapore, Malaysia and Japan — as well as the United States.

Widodo was on hand for the groundbreaking of the Bali International Hospital on Monday — it’s being built in partnership with the Mayo Clinic.

The president also wants to develop a homegrown pharmaceutical industry as part of a broader plan to improve the quality of medical care in the country.

The Bali International Hospital is expected to open sometime in the middle of 2023.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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