Spain is the sixth most visited country by Europeans who choose what is known today as health tourism and occupies the eighth place worldwide. Not surprisingly, the World Health Organization places Spain in the top 10 of the medical quality lists.
In fact, according to data from the Institute for Health Development and Integration (IDIS), this year 140,000 visitors are expected to take advantage of their holidays to undergo health treatments and medical interventions in private centers in our country. A growing and continuous trend, so it is expected that in 2020 health tourism will generste about 1,000 million eurosin Spain, three times more than what was obtained in 2014, when the figures were then 322 million euros.
Barcelona, the third health tourism destination in Europe
Every year about 20,000 travelers come to Barcelona for the purpose of receiving medical treatment due to the high recognition of their clinics and specialists.
Furthermore, Barcelona has become, by its own merits, the third European tourist destination, behind London and Paris. The tourist resources that the city offers to visitors (pleasant climate, gastronomy, good infrastructures and services, world-famous monuments) are an added value to medical and hospital care.
Different studies agree that the main determining factors in choosing a medical tourism destination are:
- The quality of professionals, services and facilities
- The associated costs
- The cultural and social environment
Barcelona, leader in medical specialization
The Barcelona Medical Center and the Barcelona Medical Agency have been consolidated around the hospital supply of the Catalan capital. Pioneers in Europe, they bring together Catalan clinics and hospitals of international reference, leaders in their respective specialties.
Barcelona has one of the world reference center in ophthalmology and a pioneer in medical tourism: Barraquer Center, who was the first Spanish medical center to receive recurring patients and professionals from the Middle East and Africa; they are currently receiving patients from 90 different countries. Other medical centers or groups have seen a constant increase in the number of international patients in recent years, mainly generalist groups like QuirónSalud in some of their hospitals (Teknon) or specialized centers such as the Guttman Institute (Neurology), Clínica Planas (Aesthetics), the Puigvert Foundation (Urology and Nephrology) or the Cancer Institute of Baselga.
Other even more specialized centers also receive international patients attracted by the reputation and level of doctors, such as the Lacy Surgical Institute (Digestive and Bariatric Surgery), the Iván Mañero Institute (Plastic Surgery), Quénet Torrent Institute (Oncological Surgery digestive and gynecological) or the Cugat Institute (Traumatology and sports medicine). Likewise, Barcelona receives foreign patients in different centers seeking fertility treatments (IVI, Institut Marquès, etc.).
Barcelona, second European destination for Wellness Tourism
Barcelona is also a reference destination for Wellness Tourism, a variant of medical tourism focused on preventive, aesthetic and relaxation treatments. Spain is the second European destination and the fifth in the world chosen for wellness reasons, according to data from the Global Wellness Tourism Economy report prepared by the Global Wellness Institute for the Círculo Fortuny. This area grew by 15% in 2019, when 5.2 million of wellness tourists were received, with a total of 18.8 million trips and a total expense of more than 8,800 million euros. The aforementioned document also states that Barcelona is the third city in the world to enjoy this type of experience, after New York and Los Angeles, while Madrid appears in fifth position. However, Spain has a greater potential to develop wellness tourism, since according to Bloomberg, it is the healthiest country in the world and the second with the highest life expectancy.
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