The idea of traveling to foreign countries for medical treatments and procedures has caught up with many people nowadays. Termed medical tourism, this idea has emerged into a lucrative industry with its shares of benefits. Sustainable medical tourism can be achieved by involving potential stakeholders in the business. These stakeholders can be identified as anyone (an individual, group or company) who either affects or is affected by the project activities aimed at promoting medical tourism in a particular region.
These stakeholders are the people who would need to be involved in achieving these project goals, with their participation being crucial to the success of the industry as a whole. They are the ones who stand to gain or lose in case the market condition remains the same or changes.
Studies have indicated that the stakeholders in the medical tourism industry would need to strengthen the bond between themselves, the tourism companies as well as the policy makers in order to benefit from the industry. It would also be deemed necessary for the Tourism department as well as the Ministry of Health to combine and create a strategy that would improve the relationship between the concerned players. As such, appropriate marketing strategies would need to be formulated in order to identify key stakeholders in the medical tourism business and encourage them to participate.
One particular strategy involves asking these stakeholders to answer a questionnaire to identify their characteristics and knowledge of the medical tourism policies. The position of these stakeholders can then be determined as being a strong supporter (S), moderate supporter (MS), Neutral (N), Opponent (O) or Moderate Opponent (MO) via the answers they provide in the questionnaire as well as information obtained from other stakeholders in the industry.
The stakeholder’s power can also be determined by analyzing the resources that they have and their ability to use them. Based on this ability, a potential stakeholder can be considered to have little –high power.
Based on all this information, appropriate marketing strategies can be formulated for these stakeholders. These strategies would focus on increasing the power of the supporters as well as retaining those stakeholders who were previous supporters, weakening the power of the opponents and eventually converting these opponents as well as the neutrals into supporters.
This widely recognized approach to identify and encourage potential medical tourism stakeholders has now been used in many emerging medical tourism destinations. The strategies formulated for these stakeholders would also help reduce opponents to existing and new medical policies formulated by the respective governments. This would in turn, ensure that all the parties involved in the medical tourism business enjoy a good relationship with each other, thereby promoting the growth of the medical tourism industry in a specific destination.
Stakeholders play an important role in the medical tourism business. As such, the governments of respective medical tourism destinations would need to take steps to identify the potential stakeholders in the industry and encourage them to participate wholeheartedly in the business. These strategies would be of some help in getting this done.