Nip/Tuck/Beach: Indonesia eyes Bali as cosmetic procedures hub

File photo of visitors at Dreamland Beach in Uluwatu, pre-COVID-19. Photo: Unsplash
File photo of visitors at Dreamland Beach in Uluwatu, pre-COVID-19. Photo: Unsplash

The Indonesian Health Ministry’s plan to turn Bali into a medical tourism destination may see it tap into the field of cosmetics, an official said during a visit to the island.

“With our visit this time around we want to plan the opening of the number one aesthetic clinic in Indonesia, which will be developed at Sanglah General Hospital as a model for medical tourism in Indonesia,” Dante Saksono Harbuwono, the deputy minister of health, said on Friday

According to Dante, this plan is aimed at keeping Indonesians from seeking medical services abroad, which he said can amount to about IDR100 trillion (US$6.9 billion) in lost opportunity for the domestic industry. 

Dante added that the clinic in Sanglah would provide various skin care procedures, plastic surgery, and dental services, among others. There are also plans to work with partners in South Korea. 

“Just imagine a family visiting and then the mother goes to a clinic for treatment in Bali. Afterwards they can go for recreation,” Dante said. 

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, Indonesia’s medical tourism project in Bali is still at its infancy. 

Last year, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir raised the possibility of developing supporting facilities to transform Bali into a medical tourism hub with Japanese partners to train doctors and nurses. Erick spoke of improving health services in Indonesia so that it can be on par with neighboring countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia, which are both popular among Indonesians seeking health services abroad. 

Citing a report issued by PwC, Maritime Affairs and Investment Ministry spokesman Jodi Mahardi previously said that around 600,000 Indonesians sought medical treatments overseas in 2015, which was the highest figure in the world then.

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