|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%).