Medical and surgical tourism has forever been popular in Colombia, but as statistices indicate a gradual dip in medical tourists, the Colombian government will have to do more to attract the audience they want.
The Ministry of Commerce and Tourism revealed in August that from January to June 2013, 2,173 tourists arrived in the country for medical procedures.
While this is fairly consistent with last year’s figures – 2,225 for the same period – it does show a consecutive decrease in the number of people who are coming for to Colombia for medical procedures.
Despite Colombian newspaper El Espectador reporting on Tuesday that the total figures for medical tourism from 2011 – 2012 amounted to 5,072, in the same six month period of January to June in 2011, 2,460 people came to Colombia for treatments and surgeries.
So, while successive Colombian governments have been promoting medical tourism since the 2000s – 2.2% of 2008’s tourists travelled for medical purposes – the percentage, and numbers, have dropped over the last few years.
Despite the relative consistency in numbers, the differences are also impossible to ignore. It is true that the percentage drop has largely been affected by success in other tourism sectors but the government will have to start grabbing peoples attention to start attracting patients once again.
Earlier in 2013, the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism opened the $11 million Hispano Clinic – a medical centre specifically focusing on medical tourism – in Colombia’s capital Bogota. Not only intended to boost health tourism to the city, the clinic’s formation also created some 430 jobs.
- Turismo de salud en Colombia: Preparándose para ser de clase mundial (Travel Colombia)
- Las bellas cifras del turismo de salud (El Espectador)
- Tourism statistics June 2013
- Tourism statistics June 2012