Tunisian towns and resorts are slowing transforming into prominent therapy centers, making the country a health tourism destination that attracts people who seek relaxation, treatment or plastic surgery from around the world.

The government is seeking to place Tunisia on the world’s health tourism map, and has made the export of health services a goal for 2016. In this spirit, health institutions have begun in recent years to market themselves as a health tourism destination, and quickly ranked second after France in mineral spring water treatment, and second among African nations in sea water treatment.

Estimates indicate that the number of health tourists came to 250,000 in 2009.

The quality of medical services and high technology have opened up new horizons for Tunisia in this field, and the country is now hosting large numbers of visitors from the region and Europe. Some 3,000 British nationals come every year for surgery; organ transplants, kidney and heart conditions, plastic surgery, vision correction, cornea transplants.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism, some 150,000 people visited Tunisia for treatment and relaxation in 2008, compared to 111, 000 in 2007. Only 42,000 such visitors came to the country in 2003.

Along these lines, the government’s strategy is encouraging the construction of comprehensive health cities – complete with specialized centers, hospitals, pharmacies, pharmaceutical production, and labs – as well as the diversification of services. In partnership with the private sector, some 17 centers will be constructed. The strategy also incorporates expanding beyond the regional and European markets to Canada, the US, Russia, China and the Gulf.

Tunisian cities are rich in water springs running from the north to the south, with more than 51 therapeutic mineral water centers that help people relieve back and joint pain, ENT conditions, eye problems, to name a few. Rheumatism, bronchial diseases and skin conditions are also successful treated here, alongside the relieving of tension and fatigue.

The country sits on an important reserve of mineral water, and the springs can be either cold (with water at less than 25 degrees C) or hot. Mineral water is also packaged and sold on the market.

Health and therapeutic tourism is based on the concept of helping the mind and body together, where body ailments are treated in a relaxing atmosphere that takes away the stress of daily life. Natural elements – mineral water, sea, sand and the sun – are used in such treatments.

Tunisia also offers plastic surgery at moderate prices, in well-equipped, modern hospitals. Most of the patients for plastic surgery come from France, Belgium and Switzerland.
Source: Kuwait News Agency