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Tourists could flock to SA for medical treatment

Power couple Anushka Reddy and Mahesh Naidu have launched the country’s first medical tourism establishment after launching the spectacular Vivari Hotel & Spa by Mantis in Krugersdorp this week.

The hotel and spa go down in history as the first of its kind in Africa and construction began 10 years ago. It opened its doors to the public earlier this year.

Sunday World was invited to launch the luxury hotel and spa which also includes a medical wing, and is set in an exquisitely sprawling peaceful eco-estate on the outskirts of Mogale town.

Surrounding the lavish hotel are an assortment of birds, with their peaceful sounds, while the splashing sound of nearby cascading fountains echoes through this natural paradise.

The hotel and spa is located a stone’s throw from the cradle of humanity, in the north of Johannesburg.

The facility offers a cosmetic clinic, day spa, and surgery, using a range of skincare products specially developed for clients who have undergone cosmetic procedures.

Other facilities include the state-of-the-art conference hall, restaurant, operating theater facilities and, of course, the 48-room hotel.

Co-founders Reddy, 39, and Naidu, 53, are doctors specializing in aesthetic medicine and cardiology, respectively.

The partners said they saw a need for medical tourism development in South Africa after realizing how attractive it was in other parts of the world. “I’ve always been in love with how people react when they see their bodies, sometimes how they’ve always wished their anatomy was, but many times seeing what they don’t like. Some cry same and that’s what made me realize that I needed to focus on the job of fixing people’s bodies,” Reddy said.

She said their main goal was to put the country on the map as the international destination of choice for discerning patients seeking privacy to perform medical procedures.

“We were confident that we could convince international medical tourists to visit our facility for cosmetic or weight loss surgery, which would attract the interest of many people inside the country, as well as inject tourist revenue indispensable in our economy, as well as hospitality and health.

“We begged and convinced the Ministry of Health to give us a medical license, it proved so difficult to get one, but we didn’t give up. We anticipated that this type of facility would not only benefit the medical industry but also the tourism industry, all of which translates into job creation and economic growth.

She said it was heartbreaking when they prepared to open the facility in January 2020, and six weeks later the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa, followed by a harsh lockdown.

But they were undeterred as the doctors continued to fulfill their dream, which cost at least R300 million to build over the past decade.

“We were already too attached to this dream. We knew we couldn’t give up or sell the dream. A little more patience couldn’t hurt us, or so we believed, and lo and behold, we live to see this dream come true,” Reddy said.

“What was most important to us was to create job opportunities in the medical and tourism field, which we have. If we get help, we hope to expand the activity to the other two major cities in the country, Durban and Cape Town.

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the hotel and spa was a perfect place for those who enjoy the finer things in life to indulge in what they love most: being pampered.

“This establishment is literally forcing people to think beyond the normal because we have narrowed the definition of tourism.

“This place says you can go from distress to good food, meet good people and change the parts of your body you want to change, all under one roof and with the best facilities and entertainment in South Africa. Sunny South,” Sisulu said.

“Life consists of traveling to discover the world and oneself because human beings by nature want to be informed, to know the world, they are all travelers at heart.”

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