aipei, June 26 (CNA) The World Medical Tourism Congress opened Thursday in Taipei, the first time it has been held in Taiwan, to discuss a variety of healthcare issues and showcase Taiwan's development in medical services.
The two-day congress attracted more than 400 participants, including 100 from Japan, China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Nigeria and Pakistan, according to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), which co-organized the event with the U.S.-based Medical Tourism Association.
The congress has also invited 20 speakers from around the globe who will deliver keynote speeches on topics related to advanced technologies in medical services, innovation in healthcare and international healthcare clusters.
"The advanced medical technologies and high-quality medical services available in Taiwan have been recognized internationally for many years," TAITRA President and CEO Peter Huang said during his opening remarks at the congress.
"We believe that Taiwan's medical services will play an important role on the global stage in the near future," he said. "With the establishment of five international medical service liaison centers at Taiwan's major airports, coupled with other endeavors, we are determined to make Taiwan's medical services an international brand."
Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association, said Taiwan has become one of the major players in medical tourism in Asia.
In 2013, Taiwan hosted more than 200,000 foreign travelers seeking medical tourism treatment, and the country's medical tourism industry is expected to reach NT$13 billion (US$434 million) this year, Stephano forecast.
"The impact of new facilities, along with loosening of restrictions on both sides of the (Taiwan) Strait have also created the perfect conditions to extend medical tourism opportunities to our neighboring friends on the mainland," Stephano said.
"Taiwanese hospitals are poised to benefit from cross-strait economic, education and research, and medical tourism traveler exchanges," she added.