|Costa Rica will be the site of the second annual Medical Travel International Business Summit where 500 people will gather together, among them being experts and specialists in medicine and tourism, from more than 10 countries. This is the second time that Costa Rica has hosted the event, the first being in 2009, in order to encourage and explore development opportunities in medical tourism.
The summit will be held from May 2nd to the 4th, 2011. The agenda includes discussions at the Hotel Ramada Plaza Herradura on topics such as: quality service and patient safety, risk reduction, and benefit plan management.
Participants will also travel to national clinics and hospitals to assess the quality of the facilities, equipment, and medical services. They will also travel to Guanacaste where besides enjoying the natural beauty of the region, they will participate in workshops at the Hotel Hilton Papagayo.
The idea is to portray Costa Rica, and Latin America, as a leader in medical tourism destinations. It will also serve as an opportunity to set up new business for providers to the healthcare industry and the tourism industry among corporate buyers, like insurance companies, medical associations, and public organizations.
This summit is supported by the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine, PROMED, the Costa Rica Tourism Board, the Health Ministry, and organizations in the medical and tourism industries.
“For the second time, Costa Rica will be an international showcase for the growing medical tourism industry. Thanks to the first-class hospital infrastructure, highly trained professionals, personal care, post-operative attention in specialized facilities and within a natural and world renowned tourism environment, the country presents a solution to the ever-increasing problems of high costs and waiting lists that healthcare systems face in developed countries,” commented Dr. Jorge Cortés, president of PROMED.
The Tourism Minister, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, stated, “The ICT, after seeing medical tourism gaining public interest, is stimulating growth in this new sector by strengthening resources and skills that Costa Rica has developed over years of investment in the healthcare and tourism industry. This summit will allow insurance companies, healthcare facilities and tourism businesses, as well as foreign consumers to see first-hand that which this field has to offer.´¨
It is estimated that some 30,000 foreigners visited Costa Rica in 2009 to have some kind of dental, esthetic, or non-elective medical procedure done like cardiac, orthopedic, urological, and preventative medicine.
The quality and cost of these national health services attract foreign businesses to treat the health of their employees, the majority being North American businesses, due to the fact that healthcare costs in the United States are very high.
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Medical Tourism: a new niche
• This industry will see US$60 million in annual sales in 2010 and it is expected to reach US$100,000 million in 2011.
• In 2009, Costa Rica welcomed 30,000 medical tourists, which brought in revenue equal to 200,000 traditional tourists. On average, they spend six times more than pure vacationing tourists.
• Most sought after procedures in Cost Rica: odontology (36%), plastic-esthetic(12%), orthopedic-bariatric-cardiovascular (22%), medical treatments (14%).
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The Costa Rica Tourism Board, together with the National Aquarium and Los Angeles Zoo, is excited to announce the Get Going Costa Rica Family Adventure Sweepstakes that will send two lucky families of four on an all inclusive family eco-adventure to Costa Rica for six nights and seven days, the summer of 2011. Winners will be accompanied by Los Angeles Zoo and National Aquarium conservation experts to learn more about the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rich lands, fauna, and flora, as well as gain insight on existing research being done to preserve Costa Rica natural habitat.
The Get Going Costa Rica Family Adventure Sweepstakes has already opened its first entry period with the National Aquarium and will remain open until April 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm EST. Participants can register on a weekly basis by visiting www.visitcostarica.com , the National Aquarium Facebook page, or by opting in while registering to receive weekly email reminders that will include a sweepstakes registry link. Winners from the National Aquarium sweepstakes period will be announced on www.visitcostarica.com in April 2011.
Sweepstakes winners will be flown to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, and begin their adventure by enjoying the sun and beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s top-rated coastlines. Throughout the week, the families will observe dolphins and whales in Costa Ballena, explore the wildlife and pristine beaches of Corcovado National Park, while spending time with the National Aquarium and Los Angeles Zoo conservation teams learning about the important conservation work being done to in Costa Rica.
“The National Aquarium is excited to have the opportunity to show these families parts of one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world,” commented Laura Bankey, conservation manager of the National Aquarium. “Through our exhibits and conservation initiatives, we hope to inspire people to enjoy, respect, and protect these amazing habitats. Allowing families to experience, first-hand, the rich natural resources of Costa Rica will provide a once in a life time experience that will create lasting memories and a renewed sense of stewardship to our natural world,” she added.
With the help of the National Aquarium and Los Angeles Zoo, Costa Rica can showcase their country as a family oriented, sustainable, tourism destination heaven.
For more information regarding sweepstakes, visit: www.visitcostarica.com.