Striving to eliminate the hassles in Medical Tourism in ME

Syed Ahmed, Managing Director – Wide Vision Group, Oman

Syed Ahmed started his career as Commercial Pilot with American Airlines in 1993 and currently has an experience of over 23 Years in Airlines, Tour Operator and Travel Agency Industry in Middle East and Europe. His previous stints include Asst. Country Manager, Middle East Manager for Indonesian Airlines, Director Middle East for Royal Khmer Airlines, Charter Manager for Saudi United Group and Hajj Director Golden Wings. He has also worked for Alecoss Travels as General Manager and had started two major Airlines namely Djibouti Airlines and Air Gulf Falcon.

Mr. Ahmed, a key member of the local travel industry, enjoys the respect of both Travel Agents and Airlines in the Middle East. Mr. Ahmed subscribes to a management policy underpinned by constant consolidation, this he believes is the key to survival in a volatile and fickle industry.  This perception, coupled with an uncanny talent to predict the needs and wants of the GCC public have enabled him to guide Wide Vision Group Ltd along a steady path of expansion, making the association with every new project an ubiquitous opportunity for all parties.

The recipient of the Icons of Healthcare Award by BERG Singapore for Leading International Medical Tourism Agency, Mr. Ahmed shares some more insights into his journey with team ABT.

Tell us more about your experience in healthcare in Middle East & the advantages
The ME healthcare market has experienced stable growth in the past years, main factor is a growing ageing demographic and increased healthcare expenditure per capita.  The rising demand of healthcare services and with restricted supply of healthcare solutions has resulted in governments across the GCC implementing new technologies, systems of care, and considering further partnerships with international healthcare providers. GCC governments continue to invest to modernise and reform its healthcare systems, as well as promote economic diversification in the region.

In ME Market, we Wide Vision Group have established and legally obtained Operation License of Medical Tourism since 17 Years whereby we were the first Company in KSA to be awarded such activity in commercial Licensing.

Out of the many advantages, the main advantage is the government’s assistance in promoting both Inbound and Outbound tourism with no restrictions on Public for choosing the destination/country of their choice of treatment.

What was the idea behind Wide Vision Group offering Medical Tourism?
WVG was born as a branch of Travel Agency and later on due to the acceptance and demand from Market multiplied its branches in KSA and Middle East. The main idea was to assist Patients in choosing the right hospital in addition to the services which we were already offering to the Market in Travel and Tourism Business.

Tell us about some of the milestones that you are proud of?
Having 38 Branches of Exclusive Medical Tourism Activity Association with Ministry of Health in KSA, Yemen, Bahrain and being exclusive providers of Air Evacuation to MOH hospitals.

What are some of the challenges that you face in Medical Tourism and how do you over-come them?
The main challenge we face as mentioned in my talks regularly are the unregulated agents or local brokers. In any industry healthy competition is beneficial for both pubic (clients) and Business itself as it provides platform for service excellence and improvement, however if this competition is in form of local unregulated (unlicensed) agents, it effects and creditability of the whole industry.

To overcome such issues we have in association with MOH in our region introduced the membership and licensing requirements for any  agency/individual practicing in this industry.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
In next 5 years our goal is to eliminate the International Desk of the hospitals by being the facilitators of hospitals in International Markets.