Costa Rica. A popular medical destination


A survey two years ago by the Medical Tourism Index ranked Costa Rica 4th in medical tourism services in the Americas, just behind Canada, Colombia and Panama. The country placed 14th in the global index.

Since then medical tourism in this small Central American country has continued to rise not only in terms of clients but also in technology and quality of care.

In 2016 the number of foreigners that visited the country with the purpose of seeking high quality and affordable medical care went from 9,774 in 2015 to 13,131 which represents an increase of 34%, a very significant achievement for the medical tourism sector and for the country as it positions itself as a reputable medical tourism destination.

The positive trend was maintained in 2017, when that tourist modality in Costa Rica deployed a promotional campaign in its most important issuing country, the United States. The majority of the tourists that visit the country for this purpose come from North America and mainly looking for dental treatments (40% according to Promed) and/or plastic surgery, and report savings for anywhere from 30% to 80% Vs North American prices.

Last year private hospitals and medical services companies from Costa Rica showcased their services at the Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference & Exposition (SHRM 2017) in New Orleans. The main goal was to facilitate networking with potential business partners and also attract foreign patients to Costa Rica.

At that time Costa Rica promoted the country’s offerings in dental treatments; bariatric and spine surgeries; orthopedic procedures, particularly knee and hip surgeries; and alternative treatments and minimally invasive surgeries, among other services.

According to official statistics a average a visitor that seeks treatment in the country spends close to seven thousand dollars, individually (not considering their traveling companions), and not taking into account the additional expenditure in possible recreational activities, such as tours, that they enjoy while they stay in a rich in tourist places country.

Specialized analyzes of international in the wellness/medical tourism field indicate that in Costa Rica esthetic treatments like anti-aging options, weigh-loss, hormone treatments, reproductive medicine are also showing great potential.

Local press shows that Private hospitals such as Clínica Bíblica, Cima Hospital and La Católica Hospital have also been receiving more foreign clients. Biblica reports an average of 110 foreign patients every month, “80% originate from the United States, 15% from Central America and the remaining 5% from a variety of other countries.

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