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CHATA discusses opportunities to develop Medical Tourism on Curaçao

In roundtable discussion with accommodations General Managers & Owners

Willemstad, September 3, 2021 – Yesterday, CHATA hosted a roundtable discussion at Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino for its accommodation’s members’ General Managers and Owners and aligned to the topic CHATA’s insurance company members were also present. CHATA organizes roundtable discussions to gain a better understanding on different topics related to CHATA’s goals. In the future, there will be more roundtable discussions with different subsectors within CHATA to reflect on various topics. As always, CHATA adheres to social distancing and hygiene measures.

At yesterday’s Roundtable Discussion on “Health & Wellness Tourism,” CHATA invited Mr. Gilbert Martina, CEO of Curacao Medical Center (CMC), to elaborate on their vision for Medical Tourism. Before giving the floor to Mr. Martina, CHATA’s Managing Director, Mrs. Maria-Helena Seferina-Rojas, welcomed those present and gave a brief introduction on why Health & Wellness is interesting for the development of the tourism sector. “CHATA is dedicated to exploring how wellbeing, healthcare, hospitality and travel merge to realize growth for our Tourism & Hospitality sector on Curaçao. And it will be important to determine a competitive “DNA strategy for Health & Wellness Tourism for Curaçao”” said Mrs. Seferina-Rojas.

Once Mrs. Seferina-Rojas concluded her introduction, Mr. Martina started his presentation titled “Medical journey at Curaçao Medical”. “It is important to acknowledge the opportunities that Medical Tourists can offer Curaçao to develop an additional pillar of foreign exchange. This possibility will not only benefit the hospital, but also CHATA members in terms of accommodation packages. “Every cloud has a silver lining,” said Mr. Martina. The COVID-19 situation allowed CMC the opportunity to prove itself while strengthen its relationship with other Dutch Caribbean islands. This was made possible when flights from these islands to Colombia were no longer possible and patients were transported to Curaçao instead for their medical treatments. The feedback from our sister islands proved the quality and standards of CMC”, expressed Mr. Martina.

“Another reason for CMC to seek growth through medical tourism is to decrease the dependency on the SVB for its healthcare budget. Currently 85% of patients are from SVB that has only covered 60% of the costs thus far. In addition, Medical Tourism also create more high skilled jobs”, continued Mr. Martina.

Furthermore Mr. Martina mentioned that CMC is heavily involved in continuous quality improvement. Last year, CMC partnered with CHATA to create a training program titled “Sirbi ku Amor,” to guide personnel of all levels on how to provide excellent customer service to its patients and thus clients. This training is still underway and will eventually be provided to the entire team. Later this year, CMC will start with a “Patient Satisfaction Survey” program to rate its services and will also continue putting all processes in place to achieve the JCI accreditation in 2 to 3 years. This accreditation is the highest level of recognition for a hospital.

CHATA is planning a follow up session with Health Tourism Worldwide on this topic to discuss additional possibilities on how to give Curaçao a competitive advantage and determine a unique strategy for the destination resulting into substantial growth for the sector and our economy.

CHATA looks forward to continuing these meetings to stimulate interesting discussions open windows of opportunity.

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