Medical Tourism Continues to Grow For Costa Rica reports The Springs Costa Rica
Total income generated by medical visits expected to increase by 50 percent
Trithardt is one of the many within North Americans who head down south for a medical care sector that has lower taxes with it, contributing for 0.8% of Costa Ricaís gross domestic product.
"I chose to come here because I find in Alberta the prices are about 80% higher than in Costa Rica," says Trithardt, 57, who makes $30,000 a year.
Trithardtís treatment costs $4,000 in Costa Rica; but, even including her airfare, hotels and meals for the two weeks she could end up staying, the amount is lower than $10,000. She says that is still less than what she would pay in Canada.
Trihardt also gets to utilize the few days that are afforded to her by visiting the luxury of Costa Rica and its national parks.
According to the countryís own tourism Institute (ICT), over 40,000 medical tourists visit Costa Rica in 2011. That number is up from 36,000 in 2010, and 30,000 in 2009. The number is expected to continue to rise.
Among the visitors in 2011, 15,000 traveled for dental care, says Massimo Manzi, director at Promed, the council for international promotion of medicine in Costa Rica.
Menzi has estimated that the medical tourism that has arisen accounts for $196 million to Costa Ricaís healthy industry in 2011. Patients that are spending money add an additional $84 million in hotels, meals, travel, and shopping. The total comes out to nearly $280 million on medical tourism trips in 2011, compared to $252 million in 2010.
Costa Rica is not the only country who provides affordable health care that helps bolster their other industries. Brazil, Panama, and Mexico are all nearby competitors. India also provides cheap care for those with the money to fly there.
Costa Rica, a country of 4.5 million, is best known for its lush rainforests and magnificent beaches. The medical tourism is expected to rise by 50% over the next two years according to Promedís Manzi.
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