The Barbados Fertility Centre (BFC), which has been bringing smiles to the faces of couples struggling to conceive for the past 11 years, now falls under the Tourism Development Act, for its work in building up the medical tourism niche area.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, made this announcement today while addressing hoteliers under the umbrella Intimate Hotels of Barbados, during their Annual General Meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Describing the BFC???s inclusion under the Act as a ???precedent that has been set??? he said the clinic, which specialises in in vitro fertilisation, would be ???fully embraced and recognised as a tourism project???.

Mr. Sealy said: ???They will actually be enjoying all of the benefits that all of you [Intimate Hotels of Barbados] enjoy. They can get their licence through the Ministry [of Tourism] [and] they can purchase various things duty free. We had to adjust the schedule and that was a miniature battle because they were those who felt that they [BFC], did not have any right being considered a tourism product and, therefore, that they should go to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance and get whatever concessions that they want. I said no???this is medical tourism ???and if there is anyone in this room that knows anyone that has a legitimate tourism offering, we will support it,??? Mr. Sealy underlined.

He further stated: ??????The staff is predominately Barbadian and it is quite impressive when you see hired cars in the car park like if you are at the Cliff [restaurant] or any other normal tourism place and they are selling medical services. I think???that this sort of thing at the micro level is probably where we can go and it would certainly have my full support.???

Mr. Sealy said he was happy about the BFC???s inclusion under the Act and reiterated government???s commitment to ???embracing anything that is focused on providing medical services to persons that might not be resident here.???

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