In the region, Costa Rica leads health care to international travelers

Costa Rica

Under the concept of the wellness tourism business, Costa Rica takes advantage of its tourist attraction and highly qualified medical specialists to offer vacation packages combined with specialized medical treatments, especially those related to dental implants.

The visit of foreigners that underwent medical procedures in Costa Rica generated in 2019 $437 million, 5% more than what was registered in 2018 for that country, and about 33 times more income than those brought by that same item to El Salvador in the same year .

According to figures from the Central Bank of Costa Rica, medical tourism revenues, especially those related to dental implants in Costa Rica, have registered a sustained growth, since in 2017, 2018 and 2019 there have been increases in relation to each of the preceding years of 9%, 16% and 5 % respectively.

In relation to the services demanded, 45% were dental procedures (cosmetic or reconstructive surgeries), while the rest do so to undergo plastic surgery or to treat problems related to aging (orthopedic surgery) or obesity.

The authorities of the Central American country have allocated significant resources to the construction of hospitals and health centers, equipped with high-tech equipment, and training medical personnel, which have achieved worldwide recognition.

An index developed by Fetscherin & Stephano in 2019 placed Costa Rica in the 6th position among the top 30 medical tourism destinations worldwide. In the region were Panama (20), Brazil (16), Jamaica (17) and Colombia (19). The Dominican Republic (22) and Mexico (28) were located behind. ”

Another of the countries that is emerging in health tourism, is Panama, which has one of the most advanced health groups in Latin America: Punta Pacifica, composed of a sophisticated network of hospitals and clinics of first level, both public and private.

Their patients are, for the most part, seniors with difficulties to deal with high costs of treatment in the home country, executives, tourists and people with international medical insurance seeking medical attention, especially related to cancer, but also weight reduction treatments, plastic surgeries and dental procedures.

In the case of Guatemala, health and wellness tourism generated $70 million in foreign currency in 2019 (the most updated data), as it expanded its services for patients from the United States, Canada, southern Mexico and Central America.

The sector added neurosurgery, plastic and vascular surgery to its exportable offer of dental clinics, ophthalmology, aesthetic dermatology and hospital services offered for 10 years, announced the Health and Welfare Tourism Commission of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (Agexport ).

In the case of Latin America, the Dominican Republic is the country that is emerging in this area. In 2019, revenues generated by companies dedicated to health tourism in the Dominican Republic totaled $265 million, 15% more than in 2018, due in part to the competitive prices offered by the country.

The figures of the “Study and diagnosis of health tourism in the Dominican Republic”, detail that between 2018 and 2019 revenues from this type of tourism grew by about $35 million, from $ 230 million to $265 million.