The Colombian government is promoting the Andean nation as a medical tourism destination, where visitors can receive high quality-low cost treatments such as cosmetic surgery and dentistry.
Minister of Industry, Tourism and Commerce Luis Guillermo Plata said that the government expects to see a rise in medical tourism visitors because the quality of Colombian medicine is high but far cheaper than treatments in Europe and the U.S.
The government estimates that twenty foreigners travel to Colombia every month for plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, rhinoplasty and breast augmentation. The majority of the patients come from the U.S., Spain, Panama and Mexico, according to the government’s official tourism website.
Approximately 2.2 per cent of visitors to Colombia in 2008 came to receive medical treatments. The government estimates that the majority of these patients were Colombians residing in other countries.
Colombia is yet to obtain official accreditation from the Joint International Commission but plans to do so.
The government hopes to establish an alliance between the health and tourism sectors in order to create packages that include medical treatments, accomodation, food, transfers and visits to tourist sites.