Cayman building more economic pillars
Medical tourism is showing promise as an extra pillar for the Cayman Islands economy.
At the heart of this relatively new industry is Health City Cayman Islands, which is owned and operated by Indian healthcare giant Narayana Health, and which opened in February 2014.
Under the leadership of Devi Shetty, a cardiologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, the 109-bed facility in the East End district of Grand Cayman specialises in tertiary care, that is complex procedures by highly trained specialists.
Providing high-quality medical care at a lower cost than nearby countries is a key factor for the success of medical tourism and Narayana, which also operates 31 hospitals in India, has become expert in cost-efficient healthcare.
As Dr Shetty says on HCCI's website: “A solution is not a solution unless it's affordable.”
The facility is expanding, building a multimillion-dollar cancer treatment unit, which it is hoped will be completed some time this year.
HCCI derives 40 per cent of its patients from overseas and Dr Shetty, speaking to the Cayman Compass in July last year, predicted a bright future for Cayman's healthcare tourism industry.
“Cayman will emerge as the capital of medical tourism for the entire western hemisphere within the next five to seven years,” Dr Shetty said.
“It is a natural extension for Cayman. It is the ideal destination for skilled people to settle down. That is one extremely important reason. Not many islands offer the security, First World infrastructure and extremely supportive government.
“It is safe for doctors to bring up their families. These people have options. They can go anywhere in the world.”
Cayman Enterprise City is another example of the territory's efforts to diversify beyond its staple sectors, financial services and tourism.
Ground was broken on CEC's 50-acre campus between George Town and South Sound in November 2018. Its zones include Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities and Derivatives City, and Cayman Maritime and Aviation City.
Cayman has rolled out the welcome mat to the exempt companies looking to set up there, who can obtain “renewable five-year work visas within five days”, says the CEC website, and be fully operational within four to six weeks.
CEC companies receive a Special Enterprise Zone trade certificate, whose benefits include “exemption or partial exemption from aspects of the immigration law, the trade and business licensing law, Customs law and other legislation”, according to the Cayman Resident website.
In particular, there is no need to advertise job opportunities within the SEZs and no import duty is payable on many items, including computer equipment.
CEC claims to have attracted 250 companies since its launch.