Medical tourism is hardly a new concept in Latin America. At first, many northerners were intrigued by the low costs they could get for major medical procedures down south. As the market has continued to grow and evolve, however, people are traveling south for procedures not only for the low costs, but also for the quality of the treatments.
Of course, Latin American facilities have no interest in seeing this trend decline, so they’re constantly on the lookout for the most cutting edge devices and equipment to keep themselves in demand for medical tourism. According to Market Data Forecast, the Latin American medical tourism market will grow with a CAGR of 18.9% until 2021 and reach a value of US$10.3 billion, compared to US$4.3 billion in 2016.
Here are the four hottest markets in Latin America where medical tourism is big-time business.
Mexico was one of the first to capitalize on the medical tourism craze, quite naturally thanks to its proximity to the U.S. But the market has only evolved since the early days, and now the quality of care in many areas of Mexico rivals that in the states. Overall, it’s estimated that medical tourists in Mexico can save between 40 and 65 percent compared to getting the same procedures in the U.S.
According to Euromonitor, medical tourism generated US$4.7 billion for Mexico in 2016, a 5.2% increase compared to 2015. More than 1.1 million patients from around the world visited Mexico for medical treatments in 2016—making Mexico the #2 medical tourism market in the world in terms of patient volumes, just behind Thailand, with 1.2 million patients. It’s estimated that medical tourism will grow by 6% in Mexico during 2017 and generate $6 billion in revenues.
This small tropical nation has gradually gained a foothold in the medical tourism market in its own right, and it’s now become world-renowned for offering high-quality services and procedures at a fraction of the price in many Western nations. It’s estimated that more than 40,000 Americans travel to Costa Rica for health care each year, and they save between 45 and 65 percent on their medical bills. According to the Banco Central de Costa Rica, 69,420 foreign patients went to Costa Rica for treatment in 2016, compared to a little over 40,000 in 2012.
This Caribbean island is often best known for producing star baseball players, but it’s been a growing player in the medical tourism field for some time now. In 2014, the Dominican Republic’s hospitals and medical centers treated more than 20,000 international patients, and that number is only expected to grow in the years ahead.
Though the savings in Brazil are not as high as they are in some other Latin America countries (U.S. patients typically save between 20 and 30 percent), Brazil offers the advantage of an established, trusted health marketplace in a country that is becoming more modernized all the time. This offers peace of mind for many medical tourists. According to the International Medical Travel Journal, medical tourism in Brazil is expected to grow by 45% between 2016 and 2021.
Contact Americas Market Intelligence to leverage this data for sales opportunities with medical devices and healthcare equipment in Latin America.