When it comes to health, the sun is wonderfully synonymous with a sense of wellbeing. No surprise then that Andalucian authorities are increasingly lauding the attractions of the region – and specifically the Costa del Sol – as a prime destination for what has popularly become known as “health tourism”.
For decades, many visitors have chosen the Coast to convalesce from operations or illness, or simply to recharge their batteries after a stressful period at work. More recently, many have opted to have their actual operation or treatment in Spain, especially patients undergoing cosmetic surgery.
In fact, according to a recent study undertaken by the regional ministry of tourism, the health sector attracts 600,000 visitors a year, with Málaga province (or the Costa del Sol) responsible for one-third of that total – and home to most of the high-end medical establishments.
With 45 per cent of Andalucía’s private hospital beds (4,500), Málaga has become a reference point for the “Tourist Health Spain” promotional campaign.
The study showed that, in addition to the superb climate and excellent international airport connections, health tourists are also drawn to Málaga by the high quality of the area’s medical facilities and professionals, the competitive prices at an international level, the Costa del Sol’s existing “brand recognition” as a top destination for leisure and relaxation (with 42 per cent of Andalucía’s four and five-star hotels), and the opportunity of staying on for an extended period (the average is 10 days) for post-operation or treatment care.