50,000 foreign patients visit Columbia?

An article in Finance Columbia has stated that statistics from Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT) shows continued growth in the country’s medical tourism sector, which includes both medically necessary and elective procedures. The article says that ministry data suggests that 50,000 foreign patients visit Colombia for medical procedures, attracted by the combination of low costs and high safety.

The article quotes ProColombia, the country’s investment promotion agency, who say that foreign patients to Columbia can save over 60% of the cost of medical procedures compared to paying for the treatment in their countries of origin.

The article also says that, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, medical tourism in Colombia has grown by 264% between 2012 and 2018, going from 5,501 patients to 20,021.

No explanation is given by the author for the different between this number and the suggested 50,000.

Colombia has long tried to promote itself for medical tourism, based on a small handful of internationally accredited hospitals. It faces significant competition from other countries in Central and South America trying to attract international patients.

For independent analysis of inbound medical travel to Columbia, sign up to the IMTJ Country Profiles.