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More medical tourism

Monday, March 7, 2011












The competition for medical tourism in the region is heating up. The head of Guatemala's Health Tourism Commission, Julio Donaldo, last week called on the government to support private-sector initiatives to develop the industry, which currently receives around 5,000 visitors annually.

With the right measures, Guatemala's medical tourism business could by the end of the decade treat 75,000 persons annually , producing revenues of close to $900 million, said Donaldo.

Famous clients of the country`s medical system in past years include the late pope John Paul II, and the former presidents of France and the United States, respectively, Jacques Chirac and Jimmy Carter, according to Francisco Galindo, managing director of the Herrera Llerandi Hospital.

Last January, representatives of 11 U.S. companies with at least 2,000 employees visited Costa Rica, to assess options for medical treatment for their personnel. In addition, Costa Rica will in May host a medical congress, with the expected participation of 200 foreign companies, according to Massimo Manzi, executive director of the International Council for the Promotion of Health of Costa Rica, which is organizing the event, along with the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism, and with sponsors, which include Continental Airlines and TMA Asset Protection.

Beside offering internationally-approved private health-care services, Costa Rican medical costs are up to 85% lower than those in the U.S. "The next tour will be directed at U.S. insurance companies, to verify the quality of medical services, so that they include Costa Rica in their coverage," said Manzi.


  • Labor-intensive United States companies
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Doctors
  • Medical technicians
  • Hotel and leisure businesses