Medical Tourism: a great opportunity for the country

Health tourism, which consists of traveling to a country or region for medical, dental and wellness treatments, is an activity that in the last 10 years has taken great relevance, becoming according to data from the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) in a global phenomenon that represents more than 60 billion dollars in annual sales, estimating a growth of 25% per year and generating 2.5% of total air travel.

According to Renee-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), the Dominican Republic has the beauty, location, medical staff and adequate price to attract international patients.


According to the President of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism, Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso, this reality has aroused the interest of the international market to invest in RD in already established health projects and in new projects such as orthopedic clinics, dialysis for foreigners, robotic surgery , recovery centers, radiology, medical spas, free zones for the manufacture of medical devices, among others. Encouraging foreign investment in the sector would promote competitiveness, productive chains, market positioning and installed capacity to the health system, encouraging the transfer of knowledge and performing cutting-edge procedures.


Similarly, Dr. José Natalio Redondo proposes that local health centers to compete in this market require acquiring state-of-the-art technology, properties, equipment, training, accreditations and international certifications that allow raising quality standards, which represents high costs, Therefore, there is a need for innovative financing alternatives for the health sector.

Mr. Edgar Del Toro, Vice President of Business of the Banco Popular Dominicano, affirms that it is necessary to pay attention to this interesting sector capable of diversifying the tourism portfolio, attracting foreign exchange and new businesses for banking. So the Banco Popular Dominicano has financial options, such as loans of special long and medium term funds, investment funds, trust funds, as well as the ability to support specialized services that add high value to the investor.

In that way, we can venture into the development of infrastructure and equipment for health centers, as well as chapters for a second home segment, or retirement homes. All these attractive options for investors, hospitals, and activities related to the sector, will be presented on April 10, 2015 at the National Health Tourism Forum.

Mr. Felipe Amador CEO of the stock market of the Dominican Republic confirms the great opportunity that this niche represents for investment funds to develop projects such as health centers, hotels, recovery centers, among others.


In the DR there are more than one hundred thousand people with international insurance policies, which when they present a health problem migrate mainly to the United States for their medical interventions, which represents an important capital and foreign exchange flight. Likewise, many doctors are trained to study and work in the United States due to lack of well-paid jobs in the national territory. Developing large-scale health tourism, new and modern health centers, investing in technology and capturing part of the international market can help reverse this situation.


Dr. Héctor López, Director of Quality of the Dominican Health Tourism Association states that in order to compete internationally we need to create a destination guide where qualified suppliers are identified, create a quality seal and work in the formation of international departments in the health centers, as well as international certifications and accreditations that allow us to capture patients on a large scale and have greater safety and quality of care. In short, health tourism promotes the raising of quality standards for the provision of health services, which benefits local and foreign patients.


Mr. Julio Llibre, President of Coral Group and Former President of ASONAHORES believes that medical tourism diversifies the tourism portfolio, boosting the growth of traditional tourism, acquisition of second homes and development of retirement tourism.
Mr. Ramón Pérez Minaya, an economist and advisor, believes that many investors who are generally at least 50 years old and have some health condition, find it a limitation not to have internationally accredited health centers in the country, so we must encourage Certifications and accreditations.


There is a large market within absent Dominicans who can come to have medical and dental procedures, many Caribbean islands do not have specialized medical services, cutting-edge diagnostic methods or minimally invasive treatments, organ transplants, critical care units so it is attractive that its citizens receive attention in our country.

Dr. Alejandro Báez, member of the medical advisory council of MTA and who directs Centers for Global Health and International Medicine located in Medical Net, says that all this added to the long waiting lists to receive medical care have contributed to patients from developed countries such as the United States, Canada and the European Union, look for quality and cost-effective alternatives for health care and medical treatments. Understanding that the Dominican offer of this niche-market must be one based on the principles of Value-Based Management, where quality should never be compromised due to the need for cost reduction.


In order to assess all the aspects required to position the Dominican Republic as a health destination, develop public-private partnerships, favor the creation of a regulatory framework for medical tourism, destination guide and present investment and financing options for the sectors health and tourism, the National Health Tourism Forum will be held on April 10, 2015 in the auditorium of the Universidad Iberoamericana.

This activity organized by the Dominican Health Tourism Association and UNIBE, will bring together the directors of the main health centers, tourism, economic, legal, diplomatic and local and international investors, having as sponsors important institutions such as the Export Center and Imports from the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD).

Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso, President of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism says that health tourism is aligned with the presidential goal of attracting 10 million tourists and is an activity called to promote the elevation of quality standards in health and The country brand.

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