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PORT Pushes Medical Tourism Sector

Dozens of physicians converged on Grand Bahama Island this past week for the 2016 Regenera Global Medical Conference, under the theme: Redefining the Practice. The 3-day conference hosted by Regenera Global, in partnership with The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), provided a platform where renowned industry leaders discussed pertinent issues facing the regenerative medicine industry.

Ian Rolle, President of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), brought welcome remarks during the conference’s opening ceremony on Friday past; whilst Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama, presented at a pre-conference workshop on Thursday. Although speaking on two separate days, the message was clear, “Get Better in Grand Bahama” as touted by both.

“We are delighted to have been selected as the host destination for this transformational event, not only to showcase our beauty and charm as a tourism destination; but also to promote ourselves as a progressive jurisdiction for Regenerative Medicine, Biotechnology, and Niche Specialty Procedures,” cited President Rolle during his remarks.

“Disruptive innovations in the healthcare delivery is transforming the medical healthcare industry at its core. I am no doctor, but a businessman, and I believe that the ongoing discoveries in regenerative medicine, perhaps in tandem with pharmaceuticals, will be the future of the healthcare industry. We want Grand Bahama Island to be a part of this global trend, by way of Medical Tourism,” Rolle added.

Conference topics included, “The Future of Stem Cell Therapy, presented by Leslie Miller, M.D.; Maintaining a Compliant Medical Tourism Practice in a Shifting Regulatory Environment, presented by Andrew Ittleman, Esq., and Global Biological Standards for Regenerative Medicine, presented by Leonard Freedman, PhD. 

According to Derek Newbold, a recent Gallup poll revealed that almost 30% of Americans would consider traveling abroad for medical treatment or care.

“There are a significant amount of US residents prepared to travel abroad for medical procedures and treatment. In fact, according to the US Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), an estimated 750,000 US residents are already traveling abroad for medical care each year, some as far as the Asian Pacific coast,” Newbold expressed. “We would rather they traveled to our shores, and soon they will, because we are committed to building this niche sector of our economy.”

Both GBPA officials agreed that the captive audience was a prime opportunity to present and showcase Grand Bahama’s value proposition as regards specialty, non-invasive, low risk procedures relative to the regenerative healthcare industry.

“By virtue of Grand Bahama’s location, its superior infrastructure, and superb quality of life; we have the ability to attract the best medical facilities, learning and research institutions, to produce ground breaking innovations through educational advancement in both research and clinical application,” stated Rolle.

“Moreover, with the continued support of The Bahamas Government; our capabilities are enhanced to not only attract these institutions, but to define ourselves as the premier destination in the region for medical tourism.”

The 2016 Regenera Global Medical Conference took place at the Grand Lucayan Resort, and catered to nearly 180 physicians, representing 65 countries around the world. The Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama, brought the official opening address for the conference. Noted Bahamian presenters included Dr. Glen Beneby, Chief Medical Officer for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Chairman of the National Stem Cell Ethics Committee and Public Hospitals Authority Consultant, Dr. Desiree Cox.


The Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA) gave GBPA responsibility for the development, administration and management, and provision of services within an area called the 'Port Area' (230 sq. miles). GBPA was mandated by this Agreement to build a deep water harbour, an industrial community and required infrastructure for the City.



GBPA has achieved an astonishing amount since its inception in 1955.  When first created it was a Grand Bahamian business conglomerate charged not only with land and commercial development but also with all the regulatory and administrative functions of the Freeport/Lucaya.



Firstly, I wish to thank Joan Albury and the Counsellors for this platform enabling us to share with the Grand Bahama community, the outlook for our island! 2015 marks the 60th year of the birth of Freeport and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement; 60 years of a partnership between The Government of The Bahamas and The Grand Bahama Port Authority. I'm here to raise hopes for 2015 and to lay a few popular myths to rest - For those who don't know me, I am Sarah St George.