September 2014, Issue: 9 Volume: 32

Spa Holidays

The hotel pool, Le Royal Lebanon
Leading the way in medical tourism
March 201040

Like other forms of tourism, medical tourism in Lebanon is on the rise and Le Royal Hotel Beirut is planning to be at the forefront of this flourishing tourism sector.

First, to put wellness and medical tourism into perspective, wellness in the hospitality business generally refers to the spa with holistic treatments from mud baths to facials, a concept which has been operating successfully at Le Royal for several years now, supported by trained therapists and the renowned natural products of Dr Burgener Switzerland.

Two years ago the Royal Spa introduced sophisticated slimming equipment and an in-house dietician, designing programmes for locals and travellers who wished to lose weight, change their lifestyle and regain their health. Thus, the road to medical tourism was officially launched.

Recently, Le Royal Hotel went a step further and launched a complete health tourism package with a range of partners.

Joyce Mouawad corporate director sales and marketing, said: “The programme was launched in February and Middle East Airlines will be responsible for the airline ticket, Nakhal will take care of transportation inside Lebanon and Le Royal Hotel will host the client/patient before and after treatment. The patient will be treated at the Bellevue Medical Centre, a  general hospital with advanced equipment, which excels in diagnosis and different types of surgery, including plastic surgery.”

The package is aimed initially at Arab travellers who visit Lebanon for anything from plastic surgery and dental care to intestinal bypass operations, yet is set to attract a growing number of European tourists seeking excellent value for money. There are also partnerships with other specialised medical centres which are set to bear fruit in the near future.

Mouawad added: “Lebanon is well-known for its advanced medical services and internationally trained doctors. Most doctors in Beirut’s excellent hospitals (eg The American University Hospital, Hotel Dieu, Clemenceau/Johns Hopkins, etc) have specialised in Britain, France and/or the US. Medical tourists come here not only from the Arab world, but from Cyprus and Greece as well.

“With the country having hit a record number of tourists last year, there is no doubt that non-seasonal medical tourism is set to increase and boost the hospitality industry. In addition, it is important to emphasise that the natural environment, good weather, Mediterranean cuisine and joie de vivre of Lebanon are important bonuses for health and wellbeing as well.”

And in fact the new tie-up package has met with official approval with Le Royal being contacted by the country’s Ministry of Tourism which has expressed its support and enthusiasm for the initiative which is set to help Lebanon’s reputation as a wellness and health destination improve even further.