The 2017 Pan-African Health Tourism Congress is taking place in KwaZulu-Natal from 8 – 9 June.  The congress, which is an African Health Tourism sector Flagship event, has a specific purpose of exploring a collective strategy that Africa can adopt in order to coordinate efforts aimed at maximizing potential within the tourism industry. The intentions are to unpack matters of investment, development and promotion of destinations providers and services. The congress will address ever pressing issues such as education, internships, career paths and employment opportunities in the health tourism sector.  Immigration issues concerning visas and medical insurance will also be discussed.


South Africa has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge medical procedures. It has a history of excellence in healthcare as well as healthcare innovation. Over the years the country has emerged as a serious contender in the health tourism industry, one of the fastest growing tourism trends. Health tourism in South Africa is a relatively new concept and is gaining momentum. The Pan-African Health Tourism Congress 2017 is the first of its kind targeted at not only South Africa, but the rest of the continent.

The convention has mandate to expand the industry and address a broader market. The 2017 congress has been designed to serve as the exemplar of the optimised African health tourism event model under the banner “Taping a Larger Share of the Health Wallet”. It seeks to table and endorse policies and strategies. The goal is to expand the health tourism industry and address a broader market, creating more business for all.


“Health Tourism is travelling, usually abroad, for the purpose of seeking specific medical treatment to achieve and maintain overall wellbeing or revive oneself”

South Africa is well positioned to play a significant role within this global industry given its pioneering role in the medical field. South Africa has access to highly trained doctors; excellent medical care supported by world-class facilities and is one of the world’s fastest growing tourism industry. This combination sets South Africa up as the perfect destination for this type of tourism.


There are vast opportunities for health tourism on the African continent and it is becoming essential to create a platform for engagement and sharing of ideas amongst industry leaders in the value chain. The global health tourism industry is valued at $20 billion per year, with nearly seven million patients annually travelling across the world to seek healthcare. South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Mauritius have emerged as the clear frontrunners in Africa.  South Africa is gaining a reputation as the destination of choice. Furthermore, it has a sophisticated, well developed and organised tourism industry that competes comfortably with some of the best tourism destinations in the world.


  • Explore business and investment opportunities with Africa's growing healthcare sector and learn more about the changing regulatory landscape from renowned industry experts from around the world
  • Create collaborations on immigration policies in a bid to positively impact medical tourism in Africa
  • Exchange ideas and ultimately grow health tourism brand presence across the African continent.
  • Draw new models of investing in health and hospitality development, improving hospital governance and generating public private partnerships.
  • Impact on SMME’s development given the exposure to the market
  • African nations to also become health tourism destinations of choice – there is no competing destination in medical tourism.
  • Formal health tourism education - the creation of career paths and employment opportunities in the sector and allied industries.
  • Clear definition of governments role in developing health tourism destinations

This coordinated approach to the health tourism industry will address some of the key challenges that include: the lack of coordination in and formalisation of the industry, which can assist in educating the market; appropriately marketing the opportunities provided by this industry; and coordinating the seamless provision of services from the health to the tourism industry to provide a seamless and stress-free experience for visitors.