Price competitiveness and marketing, strategic axes for health tourism development

Patients spend an average of US$3,500 for cosmetic procedures.

The Dominican Republic is an ideal destination to enjoy a piña colada under the palm trees on the beaches of crystal clear waters and white sand, but also to have medical and cosmetic procedures.

In 2018 alone, health tourism generated US$265.1 million to the country, this is 15% more than the US$230.6 million reported in 2017. Between both periods there is a difference of US$34.6 million.

The vice president of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism (ADTS), Amelia Mora, is clear: the country has not yet formally and consistently implemented a government strategy for the promotion of this market.

However, she highlights the promotion of “word of mouth”, that is, referrals from family and friends to third parties, as one of the most useful tools in attracting new clients. “Although it is a very powerful marketing resource, we need to focus strategic and continuous efforts as a nation to grow in exporting our healthcare services to the international market,” he explained.

Each patient spends an average of US$3,500 to undergo a medical procedure, but this expense increases due to the assistance of companions.

For Mora, in order to remain competitive in a market in which quality and price have an influence, the nation must be measured. “In our country there is free enterprise and each health center has its own cost structure, negotiates with international medical insurance companies and, depending on the market environment, defines the price of its services,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the president of the guild, Alejandro Cambiaso, affirms that health tourism promotes the country’s competitiveness based on quality, results and attention centered on the patient and his or her family.

“It also promotes local and international investment, the attraction of foreign currency and the creation of new health centers that generate jobs, technology transfer and multi-sectoral production chains,” he said.

Well-being and health

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) agree that health tourism is a growing global trend.

The world economy receives more than US$100,000 million each year from these mobilizations, in addition to the US$600,000 million contributed by wellness tourism, which makes them potential markets to diversify the country’s Travel and Tourism industry.

According to Patients Beyond Borders, around 26 million people are medical tourism patients. Of this number, 2.2 million are Americans.



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