In a survey published in the French edition of the January-February issue, “African Business” reports that 250, 000 foreign patients came to Tunisia in 2009 for treatment, including from Libya, Algeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
The survey writes that 70% (about 4 million people each year) of Libyans came for medical care.
Patients from sub-Saharan Africa, who represent 12% of medical tourists in Tunisia come from Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali and Burundi.
Westerners, who represent 18%, come to Tunisia for cosmetic surgeries, including plastic surgery. 3, 000 European patients visited Tunisia in 2008.
Tunisia ‘s attraction as a medical tourism destination is explained by “the positioning of Tunisia which is close to the West, the high level of Tunisian plastic surgeons and the cost of surgery, which remain cheaper than in Europe”. For example “breast augmentation or liposuction account for 40 to 50% cheaper than in Europe” said the spokesman of the Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies to “African Business”.
The survey adds that medical tourism, “a source of significant currency for Tunisia”, holds 5% of the country’s exports of services. It represents 24% of turnover of private clinics, amounting to 175 million Euros.
Patients spend on average 4000 Euros, whereas the standard tourist only spends 300 Euros.
Tunisia attracts an increasing number of British, Germans, Italians, French, Belgians, Swiss, Portuguese, and Spaniards. The number of foreign patients having been treated in private Tunisian clinics has witenessed an expotential growth in the last five years.
According to the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ), “Medical tourism in Tunisia has become the country’s second highest foreign currency earner, and the second largest employer. Most of the 8000 doctors were trained in Europe or America, so they meet Western standards. Prices are 40% to 60% less expensive than those in Western Europe, even allowing for a stay of one week. Its proximity to Europe makes Tunisia an attractive alternative to India and Thailand, for those who want to avoid long-haul flights”.
Source: Tunisia Online