Innovation That Matters

Hotel targets expectant mothers with 'birth tourism' packages

Travel & Tourism

For most expectant parents, travel is something to be minimized during the final weeks of pregnancy so as to increase the chances of giving birth close to home. For “birth tourists,” on the other hand, delivering on foreign soil is the ultimate goal—primarily to obtain foreign citizenship for the newborn. Therein lies both a controversial topic from an immigration point of view and an opportunity for hospitality providers in that foreign land. Thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, children born on U.S. soil automatically become U.S. citizens, regardless of where their parents hail from. Hence the phenomenon of U.S. birth tourism, which appears to be a growing trend. Enter New York City’s Marmara Manhattan hotel, a Turkish-owned enterprise on the Upper East Side that emphasizes extended stays through packages such as its Suddenly Splitsville option for the newly divorced. For pregnant mothers, “what we offer is simply a one-bedroom suite accommodation for USD 7,750, plus taxes, for a month, with airport transfer, baby cradle and a gift set for the mother,” Marmara Hotel spokeswoman Alexandra Ballantine told The hotel estimates the total cost of the package at USD 45,000; most women stay for two months, and they pay for their own medical care, with hospital costs approaching USD 30,000, the site reported. The compensation for that hefty price tag? U.S. citizenship for the child, with the ability to travel freely to and from the U.S. Some, in fact, view the children of birth tourists as “anchor babies,” since they can help bring about the eventual immigration of an entire family. The practice is by no means without its opponents. On the other hand, it also presents an opportunity for hotels and other accommodation providers in the U.S. and other like-minded nations. One to mull over for your own hospitality enterprise? (Related: Global directory lets medical tourists find & review clinics.) Spotted by: Parul Rohatgi



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