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Health Tourism in Argentina is Experiencing a Remarkable Growth

Health Tourism in Argentina is Experiencing a Remarkable Growth

The growth of medical tourism in Argentina is evident in the increasing number of pregnant Russian women choosing to give birth at local medical institutions. This trend is part of a larger phenomenon that has been expanding for the past 15 years, turning Argentina into an important hub for medical tourism. The geopolitical conditions, including the Russian-Ukrainian war, have contributed to the recent surge in business. Not only Russians, but also individuals from the Middle East, Europe, and even southern parts of the United States are seeking medical treatments in Argentina. This aligns with the global trend of medical tourism, which is growing in Argentina at an impressive rate of 25% per year.

The recent report published by The Guardian highlights the influx of Russians to Argentina, with estimates suggesting that between 2,000 and 2,500 Russians have already relocated to the country since the war in Ukraine began. Many of these individuals, particularly women, are specifically coming to Argentina to give birth. The numbers are projected to reach as high as 10,000 this year. However, it’s important to note that the increase in pregnant women coming to Argentina is not solely driven by medical tourism. Pablo Paltrinieri, vice-president of the Argentine Chamber of Medical Tourism, explains that more people are coming to Argentina for various reasons. The exceptional geopolitical situation and the ease of access for Russian citizens without many formalities contribute to the influx of pregnant women. However, experts like Dr. Enrique PĂ©rez Gras believe that this particular trend is specific to Russia and not likely to become common practice in the coming years.

There are several factors contributing to the growth of medical tourism in Argentina. Firstly, Argentina offers excellent medical care, ranging from simple cosmetic surgeries to complex procedures, provided by internationally certified institutions and professionals. The quality of the Argentine healthcare system is highly regarded in Latin America. Secondly, the devaluation of the local currency, the peso, makes medical procedures in Argentina highly competitive in terms of pricing. Patients can receive medical services at up to 30% less cost compared to other countries in the region and only 50% of what it would cost in the United States. Additionally, the wide range of healthcare providers and the appeal of Buenos Aires as a major tourist destination further contribute to the attractiveness of medical tourism in Argentina.

These advantages explain the upward trajectory of medical tourism in Argentina, with a growth rate estimated between 25% and 30% annually. Before the pandemic, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people were arriving from abroad for medical reasons each year. Despite the lack of consolidated data during the pandemic, there has been a noticeable increase in demand for medical treatments in recent months. The use of telemedicine has also played a role in facilitating patient follow-ups remotely.

The most sought-after medical practices in Argentina include curative medicine, aesthetic and cosmetic surgeries, and wellness tourism. The country is well-positioned to offer medium and high complexity medical procedures, including transplants, oncology, and cardiac interventions. With proper coordination between the regulating state and private providers, the medical tourism sector in Argentina has the potential to become a significant source of foreign currency income and generate quality employment opportunities. Currently, Argentina receives only 2% of what countries like Mexico or Thailand receive in terms of medical tourism. Experts believe that there is room for growth by attracting patients from neighboring countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Overall, the medical tourism sector holds significant economic potential for Argentina. Globally, the sector generates a turnover of between US$74 billion and US$92 billion, according to data compiled by Patients Beyond Borders. Visiting patients typically stay in Argentina for two to six weeks, often accompanied by a travel companion. On average, these patients generate an economic movement of around US$25,000, a figure that is five times more than an average tourist.

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