Public-private partnership promotes health tourism development in the DR

The National Competitiveness Council, the Dominican Health Tourism Association, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Public Health were the hosts of the presentation of the Study and Diagnostic of Health Tourism in the Dominican Republic, the national development strategy for the sector and quality seal proposal for health tourism providers.

At the event, the opening remarks were given by Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso, president of the Dominican Health Tourism Association (ADTS) who gave a preamble of the sector, its achievements and challenges, highlighting the entity’s commitment to strengthening the quality, safety and technological transfer of health and tourism services, calling for the construction of the destination and health system to which we all aspire.

Lourdes Russa, the author of the aforementioned study, made a presentation in which the potential of the Dominican Republic as a health tourism destination was evidenced.

According to the study in the country, 47,725 international patients were assisted for medical tourism, that is, patients who traveled in a planned way to the country to receive health services.

Additionally, a total of 69,550 foreigners received assistance for touristic medicine, a modality that consists of providing emergency, urgent or consultative services to tourists who, during their visit to the country, presented an unexpected medical report.

Therefore, it was established that a total of 117,275 international patients were provided health services in 2018, a figure that does not include wellness tourists, which represented an average growth of 15% for the health tourism segment and 7% for the tourism medicine segment compared to 2017.

According to the study and international rankings such as the Medical Tourism Index (MTI), the country occupies the leading position in the Caribbean region for medical tourism and is one of the destinations with the greatest potential for the development of this activity throughout the Americas.

Russa said that health tourism has motivated investments in new infrastructure and medical technology over 500 million dollars in the country, favoring job creation and leveraging new business lines.

It was established that to strengthen the development and growth of health tourism in the Dominican Republic, ten (10) major challenges or challenges related to: regulatory and incentive framework, health and wellness centers under international standards, technology and information portability were considered medical, competitive and updated human resources, sustainable promotion of the destination, maximizing the investment potential, quality and safety of tourist attractions and complimentary services, government action, accessibility and bilingualism.

The director of the National Competitiveness Council, Rafael Paz Familia, said that facing these challenges is precisely what brings us together today and for what we have designed a critical route framed in the National Strategy for the development of the sector and the proposed quality seal for health tourism service providers.

After this launch comes joint actions and an inter-institutional work plan to boost the development of the sector, a niche market that he ranked as promising and priority.

For his part, the Minister of Health, Dr. Rafael Sanchez Cárdenas, reaffirmed the importance of working in accordance with the protocols of care and habilitation, complying with local regulations and promoting initiatives such as said strategy and the seal of quality for tourism providers of Health and international certifications.

Sanchez Cárdenas said we live in a globalized world and to compete internationally we need to innovate, train and work under public-private partnerships aligned with the presidential goals.

The Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier García, stressed the importance of diversifying the tourism portfolio and working together with the health sector to boost medical tourism, the quality of services and generate new opportunities and projects, based on the fact that we have an experienced tourism industry, political stability and the talent of Dominican doctors, ingredients that we will be able to strengthen with the development strategy of the sector.

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