Medical tourism in Costa Rica is a growing trend as more and more foreigners come to the country for a medical procedure offered by private hospitals. Americans are the majority of "medical tourist".
The estimate is that some 100.000 visitors will be coming to Costa Rica over the next 5 years (20.000 per year) solely for the benefit of medical services, being it plastic surgery or heart surgery.
The reason is simple. The cost of a medical procedure in Costa Rica is a lot cheaper than in the United States, even when you take account the costs of travel and accommodations.
This is also good news for the traditional tourism industry as tourism experts predict that many of the medical tourists will stay longer and visit the resorts and beaches once they are cleared by their doctors and are ordered to rest.
Direct revenue from medical tourism is estimated at us$60 million dollars or an average spending of us$3.000 for each person.
According to the ministro de Turismo, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, medical tourism will not only benefit the health industry, but as well hotels, travel agencies and airlines, among many.
To help facilitate the industry, the government has declared medical tourism a "public interest".