Ukraine is hoping to become a global hot-spot for medical tourism.
Even before Russia’s illegal invasion of the country, in February, Ukraine was one of the 20 most visited countries for medical tourism. Now, the country’s tourism minister has said its recent experience dealing with war injuries could position Ukraine as a future global centre of excellence for medical rehabilitation.
“Investors are interested as we already have the clinics and were attracting lots of people before the war,” Mariana Oleskiv, chairperson at the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine, said in an interview with Investment Monitor.
“For example, in 2021, we saw lots of people coming for medical treatment from Gulf countries, especially those with back problems and walking disabilities,” she said.
“Even now, it is possible to attract some of the investors in rehabilitation services like prosthetics,” Ms Oleskiv told Investment Monitor.
“Unfortunately, Ukraine now has a lot of people wounded by war. People who lost limbs need to learn how to walk again, so there is a lot of [domestic demand] from civilians and soldiers. Sadly, there are wars all the time worldwide. So, Ukraine could also become a centre for post-war rehabilitation of people who lost their legs or hands.”
According to Medical Device Network, the Ukrainian government currently owns a series of health resorts and sanatoriums across the country, especially in western Ukraine, which has been far less affected by the war.
The country’s government is, reportedly, looking to secure private investment for these, while offering reduced tax incentives to investors.
“We know it is kind of a risky investment at the moment for many investors, but the potential [is high], which is why [we are already] planning for Crimea’s medical tourism once we end the occupation,” Ms Oleskiv said.
“We hope that investors and tourists will support Ukraine’s rebuilding and fight for democratic values,” she said.