A range of incentives and positive marketing is encouraging businesses to offer medical tourism in Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rico Medical Tourism Corporation (CTM) was launched in 2014 to develop a robust structure and establish alliances with the private sector, both on the local level and abroad. It has certified 38 medical tourism providers.
CTM director Francisco Bonet says,”Recent initiatives have allowed the island to become known as an excellent destination for medical tourism, provide training for personnel in the sector and raise the levels of quality and service provided to patients.”
CTM has managed to break into the world medical tourism market by implementing an aggressive strategy promoting Puerto Rico as an ideal destination for patients and investors.
Puerto Rico is part of the United States so no passport or visa is needed for Americans to travel to Puerto Rico- within easy air access to major stateside cities, including those on the East Coast.
As a part of the United States, most doctors and dentists are Board Certified, and hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission (JCAHO). While the quality of care is equal to the care found across the USA, the prices for medical and dental care in Puerto Rico are claimed to be up to 60% less.
Medical tourists seek cosmetic surgery.cardiology, bariatric procedures, dentistry and orthopaedics
CTM aims to promote medical tourism to the island by –
- Medical tourism certification
- International medical tourism marketing
- Business and medical tourism laws
- Tax benefits
- Financial incentives
The goal is to encourage Puerto Rico’s healthcare providers to participate in medical tourism and to promote the Island as a global medical and dental tourism destination. Puerto Rico is strategically located between North and South America.
The Tourism Development Act provides tax exemptions and tax credits to businesses engaged in medical tourism- with up to 90% tax exemption on income tax and up to 90% tax exemption on municipal licenses and property.
The Export Services Act offers reduced 4% corporate tax rate, 100% tax exempt dividends, and 60% exemption on municipal taxes- all guaranteed for 20 years.
The Individual Investors Act offers 0% tax on dividend and interest income for new PR residents, 0% tax on short and long-term capital gains for new PR residents plus 0% federal taxes on Puerto Rico.
There is an element of desperation in the promotion of medical tourism as it is part of a raft of strategies to revive the economy that has been in recession for years. Puerto Rico has a debt of $70 billion, has recently failed to meet repayment dates, and is seeking restructure to avoid a public default.