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The Rise of Medical Tourism in Africa

Rising incomes, favorable exchange rates, lack of consumer debt and a growing demand for health care services make Africa an alluring choice for investors and medical tourists alike. In recent years, wealthy Africans and expatriates living in Africa have begun opting for in-depth medical care within the continent instead of traveling abroad for cosmetic surgeries and other procedures.

Governments are also becoming more involved in efforts to ensure quality health care in more locations on the continent. In the past, investors were more likely to put their money in telecommunications, oil and infrastructure. These days, the surge in health care providers and medical tourism in many regions make Africa even more attractive to investors.

Although South Africa is recognized as a medical tourism hub, other regions are emerging as destinations for cosmetic surgeries and other medical procedures. Kenya, a country formerly lacking in health care facilities, is beginning to make its mark on the industry. Nearby Uganda is another promising newcomer in the medical tourism field.

Countless South African plastic surgeon can be found in any given medical tourism plastic surgery directory, and health care is much more reasonable than that found in many developed countries. These considerations, however, don't stop residents from this part of the continent from traveling to the African island of Mauritius for care. In fact, Mauritius has a strategy in place for attracting 100,000 medical tourists by 2020. In addition to South African patients, Mauritius currently receives over a quarter of its business from Madagascar.

However, South Africa is still the most established region when it comes to cosmetic surgeries. Patients from the U.S., Europe and other developed areas receive stellar care at lower prices, due at least in part to favorable exchange rates.

While recovering, patients can enjoy safaris, the six regions of the Cape Winelands and other unusual attractions -- or just relax and take in the gorgeous scenery. Facilitators can customize the experience to suit the patient's wishes and budget. Many find that they can afford chauffeurs, high-end accommodations and other luxuries not normally within their reach at home.

The diversity of African countries drawing foreign visitors seeking a combination of medical care and tourism while recuperating demonstrates the continent's increasing viability in the industry. Besides gaining prominence in a given international plastic surgery directory or dental care listing, Africa has the opportunity to entice more tourists to its historic sites and natural wonders.