Medical Tourism Aids Local Economy
When you think about your medical care do you envision a tennis match, a few rounds of golf, or relaxing in a spa? Many patients do! And the Coachella Valley is one of the premier locations in the United States – and the world – for both medical care and resort-style relaxation.
Individuals and families who enjoy the best that life has to offer have begun planning their travel around their medical needs, and vice versa. Whether it’s routine screening examinations to avoid long queues and high costs in other countries, or specialized care and access to clinical trials, patients come to the desert from all over the world, many planning and combining their vacation with their medical care. Visitors to the valley can find not only world class restaurants, golf courses, entertainment, and art, they also have access to world-class medical services and specialized, personalized medicine.
The Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau reported in 2012 a recovery in visitor spending with a rise of 8.1% in 2011, reaching $4 billion. They broke down visitor type into day visitors and overnighters, analyzing the spending of each. Overnight visitors spent $475 per visit while day visitors spent $250 per visit. 56% of visitors were day visitors and the remainder were overnighters who contributed to 60% of total visitor spending.
Tourism is bouncing back with the continued growth of the U.S. economy, which added nearly 9.5 million jobs through August 2014. Sperling’s Best Places (BestPlaces.net) predicts a 35.9% job growth over the next ten years in Palm Springs. According to the Coachella Valley Economy: Brief Analysis 2014, economic growth in the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire experienced significant growth last year and continued momentum in 2014.
Tourism was among the five sectors primarily contributing to the Valley’s economic recovery along with healthcare, housing, agriculture and retail. Visitors seeking medical care locally contribute greatly to our economy and keep it thriving; some even enjoy the convenience of our Thermal airport where they can land their private jets. Price & Associates reported that private jet users inject $69,000 into their destination economies (excluding fuel, aircraft related expenses, and landing fees).
With all the region has to offer, it’s no wonder people from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe come to the desert for their medical care. These patients are seeking high-quality, expert services while enjoying a second home or vacation here where they also benefit from our beautiful weather.
At Desert Medical Imaging, we see an influx of medical tourists during high season seeking consultations about cardiac CT, whole-body MRI, prostate imaging and treatment, personalized medicine (including genomics), and our advanced clinical trials.
Whether you live, work or vacation in the Coachella Valley, it is a unique place in which you and your loved ones can enjoy resort-style living while pursuing top notch medical care and treatment.
Bernadette Greenwood is director of clinical services at Desert Medical Imaging, as well as an author and educator. She can be reached at (760) 694.9559. For more information visit www.desertmedicalimaging.com.
Sources: 1) http://www.bestplaces.net/economy/city/california/palm_springs; 2) http://cvep.com/content-files/CVEP_2014_AnnualReport.pdf; 3) DK Shifflet, Tourism Economics, OTTI