A Look at Hainan: Medical tourism a new attraction for Boao
Hainan Province is home to the Boao Forum, and the island has long been a popular holiday destination for tourists. Known as China's Hawaii, its distinctive culture, tropical beaches and rainforests are a big draw all year round. Yet, the southern island isn't totally reliant on its climate and leisure activities to drive its economy. It's also looking to become a leader in advanced medical services. He Weiwei has more.
At a health-care center in Bo'ao, 59-year-old Gao Jianqun is having a routine check-up. Yet, she's not a local, she lives in Tianjin, in north China, a four-hour flight away. It's her third time to come here for such a service.
GAO JIANQUN PATIENT "I used to suffer from high blood fat and fatty liver. I was also at high risk of getting diabetes. After receiving medical treatment here, all those indicators became normal. And while I'm away in my city, the doctors keep following my condition and offering instructions."
In China's big cities -- such as Tianjin -- it can be quite difficult to set an appointment with a doctor. But that's not the only reason Ms.Gao is willing to make such a long journey to Boao. She's looking to take advantage of the specialized area the city is building for medical tourism.
HE WEIWEI BOAO, HAINAN PROVINCE "This pilot-zone aims to build a cluster of hospitals and health-care centers, gathering first-class doctors from around China and other countries. They'll provide a variety of medical services, including treatment of tumors, plastic surgery, health management, as well as cutting-edge medical technology research."
In 2013, China's state council approved nine preferential policies for the pilot zone. These include more efficient drug schemes extending foreign doctors' work permits and allowing hospitals to receive foreign direct investment.
ZHANG XUEFENG DEPUTY DIRECTOR, BOAO YILING LIFE CARE CENTER "Thanks to the policy, we have some of the world's latest medical devices here. Their approval could require three to five years in other places in China."
It's hoped that the establishment of this pilot zone provides fresh momentum for Hainan's development.
FU XUANCHAO DIRECTOR, HAINAN PROVINCIAL DEV'T & REFORM COMMISSION "Hainan's prosperity comes from its reform and opening-up. This pilot zone is another attempt to explore medical tourism as an emerging industry and further boost the province's supply-side reform."
The pilot zone is so far the only one of its kind in China. HWW, CGTN, BOAO, Hainan Province.