Monthly Archives: August 2017

Caribbean Destination’s Tourism Competitiveness Under Review

Amidst the world economic crisis, the previously obscure term, competitiveness, has become a mainstream word. Which is not surprising, because in times like these, consumers naturally become more cost-conscious.Ask any tourist what makes a destination competitive and they will probably come up with something like “being a good value” – in other words, providing a satisfactory travel experience for a fair price.But for tourism industry professionals, it’s not quite so simple. For a tourist destination to be competitive, they maintain, it must first be sustainable. And sustainability goes far beyond satisfying the tourists to insure that they keep coming back. A sustainable destination must satisfy many other stakeholders, including the local community, the environment, the hoteliers, the service providers and the government.With 4 million air arrivals per year, half a million cruise ship visitors and over 60,000 hotel rooms – the Dominican Republic is the leading island destination in the Caribbean.As such, it might be assumed to have a competitive tourist industry. But the local leaders are not taking this for granted. In fact, they have created a wide network of regional tourism clusters whose job it is to identify the constraints that may compromise the long term development of the industry, and to work with the government and the local communities to implement possible solutions.

The nine existing tourism clusters – a few more are being formed — are grouped under the Dominican Federation for Tourism Competitiveness (whose Spanish acronym is CDCT), headed by hotelier, Mr. Rafael Collado.In his welcome speech at the recent Dominican Tourism Competitiveness Forum (FODATUR) held in the nation’s capital, Mr. Collado alluded to the challenges being faced by the country’s tourism industry, stressing that while some of them – like the state of the global economy and volatility in oil and commodity prices – are beyond its control, others are entirely manageable, and it was the event’s goal to put them on the agenda and map out a realistic action plan.The event, which lasted for two days, gathered over a dozen of the most brilliant minds in tourism from Latin America, Spain and the USA, in addition to the Dominican Republic. A sizable group of industry professionals, hoteliers, travel agents, lawyers, consultants and public officials attended.On the subject of competitiveness indicators, the delegate from the University of Monterrey, Mexico, explained his country’s highly sophisticated method of assessment. A territory’s tourism competitiveness – relative to other territories – is measured by giving numerical values to a wide number of variables.The methodology is so thorough that it covers 112 different variables grouped into 10 categories: cultural activities and resources, natural resources and protection of the environment, human resources and education, hotel industry infrastructure and professionalization, tourist flows and means of transportation, tourism support services, public safety and protection, profitability and economic aspects, tourism promotion, and governmental support and efficiency.The CDCT vowed to seek support for the development of a similar evaluation tool in the Dominican Republic.It was pointed out, furthermore, that one of the nation’s challenges is the lack of a modern tourism law. A new bill that would put the D.R. on par with other Latin American countries had recently been drafted and delivered to the Minister of Tourism by a committee headed by the tour operators association. In a joint declaration, the participants urged the Minister to give the bill his full support and submit it to Congress without delay.

Yet another highlight were the concurrent workshops, where the group was split into round tables to discuss the main issues on the tourism competitiveness agenda and to suggest solutions. Topics included: environment, hotels, airlines, ocean travel, health and safety, tour guides, education, marketing and tourism clusters, among others.Each table was headed by an authority on the subject matter. Many new ideas emerged, and the CDCT made a commitment to discuss the conclusions with the competent authorities, reach agreements, and monitor their implementation.The annual event was sponsored by various public and private sector organizations and businesses, primarily the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been the main catalyst behind the creation and development of the cluster concept in the Dominican Republic.

Save On Your Medical Bills With Medical and Health Tourism?

Many times you may have listened new stories about the rising trend of medical tourism in developed countries. Medical Patients move around the globe to find medical procedures for getting an appropriate solution to their health related needs. One must have health insurance since traveling to a foreign country seems like paying less if there’s a real chance for good quality and affordable health-care.Find out exactly about medical tourism and health tourism means for an person?Let us discuss more about Medical tourism and Health care Tourism?The word “medical and health tourism” refers to people who travel abroad to developing countries like India, Mexico and Cost Rica for any sort of medical treatment and care. Before, medical tourists were generally wealthy and affluent patients looking for some health treatments that were not available in their own country.However, today it is seen that medical patients favor traveling to other countries in an effort to control the costs of their medical care. Looking at the medical costs incurred in the treatment, patients find it much reasonable to pay the travel costs and travel abroad for their care. This helps in reducing the costs involved in the treatment. For example, if an Indian hospital charges $10,000 for an open-heart surgery, this surgery costs around $30,000 in UK and $100,000 in U.S. Looking at the potential savings, this do not surprises at all.

Additionally, patients have to wait for long to get treated in U.S. Sometimes, a major surgery is planned for coming few weeks and sometimes even days. Some of the most popular medical tourism destinations are Singapore, Thailand, India, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and South Africa.To avail the benefits of health tourism, certain things need to be considered beforehand. For instance,
a. The Person should be healthy enough to travel abroad for getting the treatment done.
b. The individual must calculate the complete cost of treatment including the traveling expenses.
c. The individual should have some health insurance coverage for the treatment or procedure. Also, your health insurance might not cover foreign treatment.
d. The individual should inquire completely about the medical tourism provider including the details of the doctors and facilities there.There is no doubt that medical tourism might save a lot of money, but you must not ignore the possible risks involved in it.The most important thing to consider is Licensing and Certification. The person should inspect about the credentials of the physician who will treat you.Do confirm whether the hospital and services you are considering have received authorization parallel to what you may find in the United States. For Americans, the recognized accreditation group is the Joint Commission International (JCI). It is the international arm of the Joint Commission in the U.S. and a non-profit organization that accredits U.S. hospitals. Most of the hospitals which serve international patients have already obtained JCI accreditation in an effort to attract more American patients.

You should not miss consider the worst case scenario that may occur. If things go wrong, you may find yourself in a foreign country without any ability to seek compensation for malpractice.The person should look for hospitals that allow enough follow-up and recovery time as your medical tourism consultant may not tell at the initial stage and is just in the business of getting patients in and out quickly. In such scenarios, required follow-up care is not provided after the treatment. Traveling too soon after surgery may cause serious complications.The person should have exposure to disease and have built up the immunity required in case of weakened individuals. Some countries, such as India, Malaysia, or Thailand have very different infectious disease-related epidemiology to Europe and North America.

Tourism Social Media – The Need For Experiential Content

Tourism is out of the ordinary day activities of normal life. It is saved for, anticipated and remembered for years to come after the holiday is over. But what are they remembering… the hotel, the flight, the airline? Maybe…the experience…definitely. Tourism is experiential based.So what attracts the potential customer to your product, service or activity? When they visit your website or read your printed marketing material, what is it that sways the decision to use your business over your competitors? The importance of having well designed marketing material, whether online or offline, and a level of integration and synergy between them cannot be argued. However, content is king. What does your content say to your potential customers? Is it generic marketing text that is not targeted to the behaviour and language of the target markets you are attempting to serve?The use of images, photos and videos is essential in the tourism industry, where experience is everything. Interactive media formats are the perfect medium for telling the story, rising emotive decision making processes in consumers and creating a virtual sense of demand. The use of colloquial, descriptive, emotional and experiential text is just as important in spurring the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for consumers to purchase your products and services, or at least qualify your offerings to be in the final decision set.

Social media offers all tourism businesses the perfect platform to share and promote the experiential based tourism product through the use of interactive mediums. Image sites such as Flickr and video sites such as YouTube are obvious sites to utilise. Although not considered as a pure social media tool, these sites have developed over the past several years to include interactive and communication capabilities that are conducive to social networking. However, these could be considered the first steps of social media. In comparison to sites such as Twitter or Facebook which require a constant level of activity as far as engaging with the audience, Flickr and YouTube can be used simply as a platform for presenting interactive media about your business, the activities, accommodation, customers enjoying their EXPERIENCE. There is the option to engage with other like mined people and current and potential clients though the joining of groups, engaging with conversations and participating in the community – but it is not as essential in other social media platforms. And for this reason, these platforms are the perfect place to start for the novice, even the sceptical tourism operator to dabble with social media.Here is a simple example of how an activity based tourism operator could utilise either Flickr or YouTube (or both) to build the visibility of their business, utilise experiential based marketing mediums, create a valued personal level of customer service and engage in a basic level of viral marketing: Let’s take the case of a four-wheel drive motorcycle operation. When the customer purchases or attends the activity, get their email address. Before, during and after the activity, take lots of photos and/or videos (basic digital camera is all that you need). Once the activity has finished for the day, upload the photos/videos from the camera to your Flickr/Youtube site – then email the customer saying thank you for using us and having a great time and inform them that you have posted photos/videos of them enjoying their experience.

This proactive level of customer support will impress the customer, leading to greater levels of satisfaction – developing a brand ambassador who will surely create a level of word of mouth marketing for you. But it doesn’t stop there – the customer will then view their photos/videos on the sites, they will have their experience rekindled and be likely to email and tell their friends of their experiences and direct them to the URL address where the photo is held – your Flickr and YouTube sites. Now you have the start of a viral marketing campaign, where the customer’s friends are viewing the photos/videos and spreading the word about your business.If you are a tourism operator attempting to gain a greater market share, identifying methods to increase customer satisfaction and support and want to start engaging with social media, implement an experiential and emotional strategy to your online and offline marketing mediums – increase the use of experiential based photos and videos, utilise descriptive text and consider utilising some of the most basic social media tools to promote your business and brand.

Medical Tourism Guide

Today, cheap yet world-class surgeries are just a flight away. But the deluge of information available out there can overwhelm anybody. So, here is a quick guide to medical tourism to answer most of your questions about the phenomenon.WHAT IS MEDICAL TOURISM?Medical Tourism is the process of traveling abroad to receive superior medical, dental and cosmetic care by highly skilled surgeons at some of the most modern and state-of-the-art medical facilities in the world…all at a fraction of the price in the US, UK and Canada.MEDICAL TOURISM OFFERINGS1. Incredible Savings: Compare a $7,000 hip resurfacing in India with a $48,000 one in the US. In general you are able to save 50% to 90%.2. Excellent Quality: Many international providers are accredited by JCI, JCAHO and ISO or by local accrediting organizations. They have world-class facilities, have access to the latest technology and provide personalized service. If in doubt, read testimonials by patients who have experienced treatment overseas.3. Surgeon Expertise: Most surgeons catering to international patients have either been educated or have received professional training at top schools in the US, UK or in other countries in Europe.

4. No Wait-Lists: Access to immediate service is what attracts those from countries that have public health care system towards medical tourism.5. Longer Hospital Stay: You can have a longer hospital stay than possible in your local hospital back home under the supervision of your surgeon and physical therapist.6. Travel Opportunities: While the primary motivation for most customers is affordable surgery, the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for some.WHO SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN MEDICAL TOURISM?In general, most medical tourists are either uninsured, underinsured or those seeking elective surgeries. Others resort to medical tourism due to the long wait-lists in their country.WHICH COUNTRIES OFFER THE BEST SERVICES?The most popular travel destinations are India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium, and Argentina amongst others. Some of these countries are considered best for cardiac surgery, others for orthopedic surgery and yet others for cosmetic surgery. You should base your selection on: quality, distance and cost.CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROVIDERWhen choosing a provider, don’t get swayed by attractive packages and fancy websites. Read and watch what others are saying about the particular hospital, clinic or surgeon. Check out the facility pictures and videos. Consider the provider’s accreditation, awards and recognitions, facility and equipments, statistics like success rates, etc.WILL MY HEALTH INSURANCE PAY FOR IT?Insurance companies are keenly looking into medical tourism as an option though most haven’t adopted it into their plans yet. So check with your health insurer for details.SHOULD I COMBINE “SUN, SAND, AND SEA” WITH SURGERY?That depends. Usually after a cosmetic surgery, you are advised not to expose your body to the sun or to sea water. But, you can always choose to enjoy them before your surgery.
With certain other medical procedures, it’s best for you to stay indoors and relax after your surgery. In any case, you should always consult your surgeon if you have travel or tourism on your mind.WHAT ARE MEDICAL TOURISM FACILITATORS?Medical tourism facilitators like Healthbase are specialized facilitators that connect you with the hospital of your choice while providing all or some other valuable services like detailed information about various procedures, detailed hospital profiles and surgeon profiles, medical records transfer, free surgery quote, pre- and post-consultation with the overseas hospital, feedback and testimonials from previous patients, medical and dental loan financing, passport and visa, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, tickets, travel insurance, hotel booking, tourism services in the destination country, etc.

This medical tourism guide is just a starting step. You should do the proper required research before you fly to your medical tourism destination.You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism, international healthcare facilities and surgeons and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. This is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

Tourism Training – Where Can it Take Me?

Often it is a lack of understanding of what skills and qualifications that tertiary studies give us, that stops people from furthering their education. With the option of online studies, it has been made easy for anyone to study, no matter their location or personal situation. So with this in mind I thought I would give you an insight into where tourism training can take you.In New Zealand tourism training courses include:
– National Certificate in Tourism and Travel (core skills)
– Certificate or Graduate Diploma in or Bachelor of Tourism Management
– Diploma in Applied Tourism Management
– Certificate in Tourist Guiding
– Certificate in Adventure Tourism

The beauty of studying tourism is that if you choose to follow a career in it, you can get paid to travel! The above mentioned courses will give you such skills as:
– Ability to use office technology in a customer service environment
– Give advice on New Zealand as a tourist destination
– Understand the nature of the tourism industry and it’s impact on communities
– Apply basic essential management principles
– Manage a tourism related business / organisation
– Communication skillsThese skills can lead you to such careers as
– A Travel Agent
– Airport positions – Air Hostess or Consultant for instance
– Tour Guide
– Positions on a Cruise Ship
– Tour Bus Operator
– Accommodation Hosting
– Tourism Marketing
– Environmental Research / Monitoring
– Rental Car Hire Consultant

These just name a few careers that you could enter into after you receive your tourism training. Positions in the tourism industry arise frequently and offer great variety in their day to day work. If you are looking for an interesting and rewarding career, tourism training is something you should look into

Auto Insurance – risk your car free

Shopping for auto insurance is the only way to save on the auto insurance. Car Insurance is the perfect solution for your problem on car theft, accidents etc. People are quite dependent on their vehicles and losing a vehicle by an accident or theft will be a financial loss. Moreover it will affect our day to day activities like office, school, doctor’s appointment etc.

Auto Insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:

• Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
• Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to cover for injury or property damage
• Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation. It also pays for any lost wages and funeral expenses

A standard form of auto insurance is a package of different kinds of coverage. Some insurance policies offer number of standard benefits, while other benefits are available as optional covers in return for an extra premium. Some of the more common Car insurance policy benefits are:

• Windscreen
• Driving other cars
• Medical expenses
• Personal effects
• New car benefits
• Lock replacement

Additional auto Insurance policy services include

• Motoring protection
This service pays for personal injuries that you have sustained from the accident and also we pay for injuries that others might have sustained. This service also covers for any kind of property loss. This service also handles any legal technicalities.
• Breakdown assistance
This services provides assistance incase your car breakdown and more often than not at a worst possible time. Complete details of these services are available when you get your car insurance quote or renew your policy online.

Important Things to Consider Before Medical Travel or Medical Tourism

Now days, individuals or even corporate have taken radical steps to save with the high cost of medical care in some countries such as the United States by considering medical tourism, oversee surgeries and medical travel. Many have visited to other destinations or countries to get health care healing at a lower price. This is known as medical travel, health care tourism or medical tourism. In other type of cases individuals in developing or poorer countries travels to a richer country to get medical treatment that is not accessible in their own country. An another motive for medical travel is to go from a country with long waits for some treatments as happens sometimes with national medical care to one with less waiting. Following are few reasons one should consider before setting up medical travel and health tourism.Firstly, people of expensive medical cost countries, like United States and United Kingdom in specific, can save a lot of medical bills with oversee treatment. Surgeries in India, Cost Rica and Mexico are many times cheaper than in the USA, and the same is valid of many other countries. The expensive can be quite noteworthy, especially for treatment that are not covered by medical insurance, or for individuals who are not insured.

Secondly it is becoming frequent for medical insurance companies, agents or employers who want to cut medical expensive to encourage their consumers or employees to practice medical tourism. In this way they can save a lot of funds this way. They may pay partial refunds, or at least cover transportation and housing.Thirdly, if someone is worried about the standards of medical care oversees; there is good amount assistance and information available. Many international associations and agencies, including the medical tourism associations study medical care facilities, infrastructure and hospitals around the world. They have grant accreditation to many international centers. The standards of medical treatment are a very complicated issue and may differ a lot within a country or states. Accreditation given to international medical centers at least provides some comfort in knowing there is a lower bound on the worth of an accredited facility.Fourthly, be cautions that it may be hard or not possible to get reparation for misconduct in some medical centers in different countries. Occasionally misconduct claims are not permissible or very incomplete. In some cases, a negligence suit may be likely, but it may be very tricky to collect if you even win. Negligence should be exceptional, but it is fine to understand that the covers one has at home might not exist abroad.Lastly, medical tourism and medical travel has some risks of its own. You might come across some diseases that are seldom if ever present at home. Communicable disease during recovery from operation or other treatments is a risky fixation. But the good thing is that medical care staff in the area you are visiting are certainly familiar with the diseases you could catch while there.

There are even risks from the general traveling. The idiom economy class condition refers to the danger of developing blood clots in the lower body due to being seated and unmoving during a long plane flight. Traveling while recovering from surgery raises the risk of this. This is also the one of the factor to consider when thinking about health travel.Medical tourism and health tourism may be best alternative for many people, for non-emergency treatments of course. It is regularly used for hip, joint and knee replacement or dental surgery. Cosmetic treatment is another possibility. There are medical tourism consultants and facilitators who could provide guidance at every level. They can guide you about the options available in popular medical tourism destinations. These medical tourism consultants act much like a travel agency and set almost the whole things up for you.

Battling an Unfair Health Insurance Claim Can Really Pay Off

Are you having trouble getting your insurance company to pay your medical health costs? Join the club. When managed care entered the insurance scene a decade ago, its mandate was to contain rising medical costs. One way to do that is to deny claims, even when claims are legitimate. The consumer backlash led to many states establishing independent review panels and requiring insurance companies to develop in-house appeal procedures. Forty-two states now have independent review boards whose decisions can override those of insurance companies. Most consumers don’t even realize these review boards exist.

Another problem is that too many people just give up when their insurance claim is denied initially. The appeals process can be long and frustrating and many people don’t have the patience or time to pursue a claim no matter how legitimate. People must be persistent and they can win. Particularly if there’s substantial money involved, the time you dedicate to appealing insurance company decisions can pay off usually more quickly than you think. A Kaiser Family Foundation study recently found that 52% of patients won their first appeal for each claim made. The insurance companies aren’t getting with out paying anymore.

If your first appeal gets turned down, press on. The study found that those who appealed a second time won 44% of the time. Those who appealed a third time won in 45% of cases. Which means the odds are in your favor no matter how long it take. Remember that every time you appeal it costs the insurance company more money to fight you and they are not only going to lose money to you, but also in court costs. Medical health benefits are particularly tricky because insurance companies usually have a cap on the amount of money they’ll spend in a given year, or on the amount of visits they’ll pay for. But there’s often some flexibility when you can document that you or your child’s health warrants more care than your policy usually covers. Here’s how to get started:

Do Your Homework

Read your Policy: What are the benefits? Which kinds of services are included? Outpatient or inpatient care? Is it a serious or “non-serious” diagnosis?

Know the law: Contact your local Health Association to determine your states legal requirements regarding insurance payments for all illness. Does your state require full or partial parity? Are parity benefits available only to patients with “Serious Illness” or is a so-called non-serious illness also included?

Provide written documentation: Some insurance companies may not consider some diagnosis’s serious. In this case, you will need documentation to validate required services. Obtain a letter of medical necessity from your doctor and get test results showing the medical need for you or your child to receive certain services, based on the diagnosis.

Keep good records: Remember, you’ll be dealing with a bureaucracy. Keep the names and numbers of everyone with whom you speak, the dates on which you spoke, and what transpired in the conversation.

Start early: If you can, start the appeals process prior to initiating treatment. If the doctor says your child will need to be seen once a week for a year, begin immediately to appeal your insurance company’s policy of reimbursing only 20 visits a year.

Call and Ask the Insurance Company:

What are the prerequisites for receiving health benefits?

How many visits are allowed annually for you or your child’s diagnosis? Can multiple services be combined on one day and be counted as only one day or one visit?

Which services must be pre-certified–by whom?

Be positive, polite and patient with the customer service representative. Remember that he/she is only the messenger, not the decision-maker. They are the gatekeepers and can either provide you with access to a decision maker or make your life miserable, depending on how you interact with them.

Be persistent. There are no magic bullets. Be like a dog with a bone and don’t give up until you get the answer you want. If you get nowhere after several calls, ask for a supervisor or a nurse in the pre-certification department.

Remember that you do have the right to appeal if your claim is denied. Most consumers get discouraged and will not continue to pursue a claim that should or could be paid. Insurance companies count on that happening, so get out there and claim what’s justifiably belong to you.

Benefits Of An Insurance Card Scanner

When you use an insurance card scanner on a regular basis, you will be able to take advantage of many benefits. In fact, even if you only use these from time to time, you will still notice the benefits. When it comes down to it, more and more health care establishments are using insurance card scanners. In most cases, this beats writing down information by hand, or using a copy machine. The fact of the matter is that when you use an insurance card scanner, you will be able to get rid of all these other methods. This provided many benefits and will be an excellent addition to your business.

The main benefit of an insurance card scanner is the accuracy that it offers. When you use one of these, you will never again have to worry about writing down the wrong details. And as you probably know, this is quite important. After all, you do not want to transcribe the wrong insurance card information. This could end up causing big problems for both you and your patient.

Another benefit of an insurance card scanner is the price. Many people stay away from buying one of these because they do not want to take on another expense. But guess what? You can buy an insurance card scanner for a few hundred dollars, and in turn, it will last for years on end. If you buy one insurance card scanner, it is safe to say that it will serve you indefinitely.

Finally, with an insurance card scanner you can transfer information with ease. This is something that is not easy when you are using more traditional methods. An insurance card scanner allows you to easily transfer data to a computer.

All in all, you should consider buying an insurance card scanner if you think that one of these will help your place of business.

Basics Of Private Mortgage Insurance

General conventional loans require 20% of the selling price as a down payment. This is often the largest hurdle for many potential home buyers. In order to make buying a home more affordable, lenders devised a solution to allow for smaller down payments and still minimize their own risk – private mortgage insurance.

Borrowers with less than 20% for a down payment may be required to apply for private mortgage insurance. The PMI company then insures the lender, generally for the top 20% of the mortgage, in case of borrower default. The amount that the borrower is required to pay for PMI depends on the type of loan, the loan-to-value ratio, and the insurer. However, it is the lender, not the borrower, that shops for the PMI company and program, so there are some important questions to ask lenders about PMI.

· How many company’s PMI programs will be considered?
· How does the selected policy compare to others in the marketplace in its:

– Rates
– Insured loan-to-value ratio
– Procedure for requesting removal of PMI

The PMI company will consider your application with many of the same guidelines as the lender, namely your credit, employment, and reserves. Additionally, they will consider the property being purchased and such questions as:

· Does the loan have a “teaser” rate which will increase payments in the future?
· To what financial degree is the seller contributing?
· How stable is the borrower’s employment?
· Is the economy of the area stable?
· How is the neighborhood where the property is located?

Luckily, for conventional loans, PMI is not something that must paid for the life of the loan. For loans originated after July 29, 1999, once the borrower has reached 22% equity and payments are current, the federal government requires that the lender remove the PMI. The borrower can petition the lender to remove the PMI at any time. This usually will require documentation of an appraisal and sufficient and timely payments. Be aware of which appraisers are approved by your lender – lenders can choose not to accept the appraisal if it was not done according to the lender’s guidelines.