Taiwan’s president leading the effort to promote Taiwan as a medical tourism destination.

On December 5th, 2010, Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou announced the launch an international medical development fund to help jump start the country’s aspirations as a medical tourism and dental tourism destination in Asia. President Ma puts the current number of international patients seeking medical care in Taiwan at 90,000 a year. This number is behind the medical tourism and dental tourism numbers that other countries in Asia, like Thailand, the Philippines and India are seeing and Taiwan wants to change that.

In most countries medical tourism promotion is led by the country’s tourist board, the medical establishment or trade associations, but in the case of Taiwan, the president has suggested creating a cabinet level office to oversee the internationalization of Taiwan’s medical services. With so much weight being thrown behind the medical tourism initiative, including the president, the other countries in the region should take notice that Taiwan wants to be a serious contender in heath travel. Taiwan may also want to get a head start on China, a country that as of yet has not made a major push for health travelers, but probably will in the future.

There are currently about 31 medical institutions in Taiwan provding medical care to foreign patients throughout the country. Revenue from the medical and dental procedures is roughly US$100,000,000 a year, below the revenue generated from other countries in the region. Taiwan currently has 13 JCI International accredited hospitals in the country, including the National Taiwan University Hospital, Changhua Christian Hospital and the Universal Eye Center.