Medical tourism promoters will go to Florida to make deals

Firms involved in medical tourism here will be sending representatives to Tampa, Florida, for a June 14 to 16 trade show.

The show, called the Medical Travel & Global Healthcare International Business Summit, is organized by the  Promoción Internacional de la Medicina de Costa Rica, the University of South Florida and the Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica. This is the sixth edition.

The organization known as Promed said that some 300 firms were expected to send representatives. Among these are companies form the United States, Canada, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Panamá, México, El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia., according to an announcement.

Although getting an exact number is hard to do, the best estimate is that there were about 45,000 medical tourists who medicalshow052015came to Costa Rica last year. Promoters are seeking to more than double that number. Dental work, cosmetic surgery and bariatric surgery are major types of medical procedures for tourists.

The  Promotora del Comercio Exterior said that Canada is a country that is being targeted for marketing because there are long waits of up to 35 weeks for specialized treatment there under the national health care system.

Those in the medical tourism promotion field are seeking to tap the budget of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo to set up a Web page and to do other types of marketing. The industry is talking about 20 percent of the institute budget or perhaps $3 million a year.

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