Costa Rica Identifies a Boom in Medical Tourism Opportunities for Canadians

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    Costa Rica has identified opportunities to attract Canadian tourists interested in undergoing medical treatment in order avoid waiting lists of up to 35 weeks in Canada.

    The report “Opportunities for Canadian medical tourism attraction” was prepared by the Foreign Trade Corporation of Costa Rica (Procomer) by fieldwork in the cities of Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

    “Long waiting lists in the Canadian health care system along with the good positioning of Costa Rica as a destination for medical tourism, can attracting more and more Canadians who are seeking medical treatments that they need done,” said director of business intelligence for Procomer, Francisco Gamboa.

    According to research, the main medical services sought by Canadians outside their country are orthopedic, cardiovascular, dental procedures, cosmetic surgery, neurosurgery, weight loss operations, fertility treatments and gender reassignment.

    The report describes the Canadian health system and identifies the need for Costa Rican private hospitals to become certified for Canadians.

    The most recent data from the state Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) indicates that medical tourism in 2011 generated $338 million in Costa Rica, by the visit of some 48,000 foreigners.

    ICT’s goal for 2014 is to reach 100,000 health tourists.

    42% of health tourists came to Costa Rica in 2011 for dental treatment, 22% for orthopedics or gynecology, 16% for preventive medicine, 10% to undergo plastic surgery and the rest for other treatments and surgical operations.

    82% of these tourists came from the United States, 11% from Canada, 3% were from Central America and the Caribbean and 1% were from Europe and Asia. (ACAN-EFE)

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