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Using Authenticity to achieve competitive advantage in medical tourism in the English speaking Caribbean

Chambers, D and McIntosh, B (2008) Using Authenticity to achieve competitive advantage in medical tourism in the English speaking Caribbean Third World Quarterly, 29 (5). pp. 915-933.

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Medical tourism is a relatively recent global economic and political phenomenon which has assumed increasing importance for developing countries particularly in Asia. This phenomenon has been slower to develop within the context of the tourism industry in English speaking Caribbean countries but there is evidence that the tourism policy makers in the region perceive medical tourism as a potentially lucrative niche market. However, while the potential of medical tourism has seemingly been embraced by the region’s political directorate, there has been limited discussion of the extent to which this market niche can realistically provide competitive advantage for the region. The argument of this conceptual paper is that the English speaking Caribbean cannot hope to compete successfully in the global medical tourism market with many developing world destinations in Asia (e.g. India, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines), Latin America (e.g. Costa Rica, Argentina,) and even other Caribbean countries such as Cuba, based on factors such as low cost, staff expertise, medical technological capability, investment in healthcare facilities or even in terms of the natural resources of sun, sea and sand. It is suggested that in order to achieve competitive advantage the countries of the region should, on the one hand, identify and develop their unique resources and competences as they relate to medical tourism, while on the other hand, they should exploit the demand of the postmodern tourist for authentic experiences. Both these supply and demand side issues it is argued, can be addressed through the development of a medical tourism product that utilises the region’s indigenous herbal remedies. Adapting the framework on existential authenticity developed by Wang (1999), it is suggested that for the countries of the region, both demand and supply side authenticity lie at the core of achieving competitive advantage in the medical tourism sector.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
McIntosh, B
Date : 2008
DOI : 10.1080/01436590802106056
Uncontrolled Keywords : competitive advantage, Caribbean, herbal remedies, medical tourism, authenticity
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 14:47
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 13:19

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