Medical tourism is one of the most lucrative areas of the tourism sector as medical and dental tourists spend six times as much as regular vacation tourists.
According to the United States Centers For Disease Control The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include dental care, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatments, organ and tissue transplantation, and cancer treatment.
And if they can combine medical treatment with an enjoyable vacation, so much the better.
Most medical tourists come from the United States, where healthcare, even with insurance, may be prohibitively expensive. For example a single tooth implant which might cost $1000 in several countries could cost $5000 in the United States, so the difference in the cost of implanting a whole set of teeth could be significant.
The Dominican Republic has solidified its position as the leading medical tourism destination in the Caribbean and ranks second in Latin America, attaining the 19th spot globally, thanks to the arrival of 262,902 patients in 2022.
This data, reports Dominican Today, was unveiled during the Sixth International Congress of Health and Wellness Tourism, a gathering of prominent figures from the medical, tourism, and financial sectors, both local and regional.
At the event, Alejandro Cambiaso, President of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism (ADTS), presented the second study on Health and Wellness Tourism in the country, shedding light on the sector’s economic impact and challenges.
The report underscores that international patients seeking medical care in the Dominican Republic spend an average of $7,500.
Of this, $5,000 is allocated for medical expenses, while $2,000 goes towards accommodation and transportation. This substantial expenditure significantly surpasses the average spending by regular tourists.
In 2022, the country welcomed 262,902 international patients, with the majority seeking dental treatments (179,085), followed by plastic surgeries (40,000), other surgeries (26,290), and outpatient and preventive medicine (17,527). These health tourists accounted for approximately 3.7% of non-resident tourists arriving in the country by air, totaling 7,163,394 visitors.
The study reveals that 77% of medical tourism services are provided by private clinics, while 23% operate under different management schemes with advanced technology.
Some of these centers hold international accreditations, including Joint Commission International (JCI), Accreditation Canada, and Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). Nineteen establishments were identified throughout the country, with information collected from 13 of them, representing 68% of the sample.
The majority of health tourism services are concentrated in the southeastern region (Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, and La Romana) and the northern Cibao region (Santiago and Puerto Plata).
The study also identifies several challenges, including the need to enhance innovation and establish an effective medical recertification system. It highlights that although medical personnel are highly qualified, technical and nursing staff need improvement. Challenges related to language proficiency, moonlighting, and technological capabilities were also noted.
Source: Dominican Today. CDC.