Discovery & Health: Medical Tourism in Cuenca

23/Noviembre/2012 | 14:54

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Every week this newspaper shows you many reasons for coming to Ecuador, not the least of which are: Galapagos, Andes Mountains, Amazon Jungle, food, adventure, history, culture, even retirement.

But people are also beginning to come to Ecuador, and particularly Cuenca, for new and more important reasons:  health and medical treatments.

Cuenca has begun to position itself as a destination for medical tourism.  The term medical tourism is still unfamiliar to people in Quito and other regions of Ecuador.  But Cuenca’s forward thinking leaders have already designated the city as a regional destination for top-rate, economical medical procedures, which patients often combine with pleasure.

What is Medical Tourism

Medical tourism the act of creating tourism – traveling, staying in hotels, dining out – for reasons associated with your health.  The most common practice is to travel to a city or country for a medical procedure, generally because the procedure is less expensive than at home.

Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina have been popular destinations for medical procedures, in particular cosmetic surgeries in Latin America.  Around the globe other places have also positioned themselves for the medical tourism market, such as Korea, South Africa, and Thailand.

Medical tourism also involves traveling for preventive or “wellness” treatments, such as visiting a spa.  Spa treatments may or may not be less expensive than what you could find in your home country or region, but they often have offerings or advantages not found in other places.  

Cuenca is one of the few places that can offer both first-class medical facilities with highly trained doctors and the wellness attractions of spas and resorts, making it an ideal health center.

Cuenca was declared a “Health City” by the Pan-American Organization of Health and the Ministry of Public Health for their efforts to provide and promote healthy spaces to live and visit.

Cuenca combines their medical infrastructure with other elements such as cultural offerings, ideal climate, and urban infrastructure to give visitors a well-rounded experience when coming for specific, personal and medical reasons. 

Cuenca offers no less than five top rate clinics for procedures ranging from cardiology and oncology treatments to orthopedic procedure and bariatric surgeries.

Additionally the town of Baños de Cuenca, just 20 minutes from the city center offers first class, natural geothermal spas and relaxation destinations.

Cuenca’s Project

Cuenca recently launched a pilot project to develop strategies and tools for medical tourism as an activity that can stimulate the local economy.

Last year the Fundacion Municipal “Turismo Para Cuenca” and five clinics signed an agreement and created a fund especially for the promotion of medical tourism in Ecuador, establishing an initial budget with tour packages for medical visitors.

The packages include discounts for hotels, restaurants, and other tour services for medical visitors - a broad network of services within and around the city.

Though Cuenca has the potential to become an international medical tourism destination, the first steps are aimed at the local market, targeting potential tourists and patients from the provinces of El Oro, Loja, and Morona Santiago.   To familiarize the public with Cuenca´s medical and health alternatives, press tours and national campaigns are under development.

Cuenca seems to be just the start for a future trend that will continue to grow in Ecuador.

For more information about medical tourism in Cuenca contact the Fundacion Municipal “Turismo Para Cuenca” at  [email protected]  or  (07) 284-0383 / 283-2415.

Medical Tourism Hospitals & Clinics

Hospital Santa Inés

Hospital Monte Sinaí

Hospital del Río

Latino Clínica

Clínica Santa Ana


Ciudad Cuenca

Archivado en | Miami Herald  | Cuenca Miami Herald Tourism 

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- en Diario HOY - Noticias de Ecuador.