Thanks to South Africa’s leading position as a global medical and dental tourism destination, medical tourism is one of the fastest growing - and therefore most important and priority-worthy sub-sectors of South Africa’s already booming tourism industry. This is according to South African Tourism, who notes that the potential for this sector to grow is significant, sensational and still ‘untapped’ despite ferocious and phenomenal growth in the last few years.
At Silver Oaks we have certainly seen the effects of this growth. Because we partner with several safari and similar providers, we are able to help you with a full-service bouquet when it comes to your dental tourism needs in South Africa.
Medical and dental tourism in South Africa has experienced and upward trajectory that exceeds the global year-on-year growth of 15%. By 2015, revenue from medical and dental spend from foreigners in South Africa had leapt from €39m (R582 million) to €64m (R961 million), and has long surpassed R150 million mark.
Tourists from Europe, other African countries and Australasia account for the big jump in revenue and medical tourist numbers for the most part.Dental tourism in South Africa as a stand-alone subsector stands almost shoulder-to-shoulder with medical tourism as a sub-sector.
What makes South Africa such an tour de force in medical tourism globally?
Research by a tourism specialist department in FNB, one of the big five retail banks in South Africa and frequent winner of global banking accolades for its world-leading electronic banking engineering and breakthroughs, ascribes the country’s leading position in worldwide medical tourism to the following factors:
- South African medical and dental qualification, training and professional body admission standards are on a par with, and in some cases higher and more stringent, than in foreign countries. As a result, South African dentists and doctors are sought after in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand in particular.
- The South African currency means foreigners get exceedingly good value for their medical and dental procedures, while the integrity of adherence to the best of global standards remains in place.
- The country has great infrastructure. Whether by road or air, the infrastructure is mostly well-maintained and sign posted. The urban metropolises are modern, vibrant and international with a uniquely South African flavour.
- The food and amenities on offer in general are highly palatable and pleasing to international travellers.
- There is an abundance of sightseeing options and experiences.
- Access to neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia is quick and effortless, and under two hours away by plane depending where in South Africa travellers find themselves.
- English is widely spoken and understood everywhere, as are foreign accents. This is critical when travellers undertake dental tourism in South Africa. There are 11 official languages but English is the language of commerce, work and parliamentary proceedings.
- Medical technology is on a par with what can be found in the rest of the world. South Africa is no stranger to medical innovation either, with Dr Chris Barnard having pioneered the first heart transplant in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital.
The impact of dental tourism in South Africa
South African Tourism takes medical as well as dental tourism extremely seriously because of what it is already contributing to the local economy, what vast potential it still has and the treacle down effect to the rest of the tourism industry.
Figures should that the average medical tourist spends an average of 6 days in South Africa. As a result, there are numerous gains for many tourism and tourism-related touchpoints. This means revenue traction for formal and informal tour operators, the hospitality industry and accommodation services, retail, safari and environmental attractions, the transport sector, food, catering and beverage services, and spas and wellness centres.
South African Tourism is committed to improving both medical tourism and dental tourism in the following ways:
- Reminding all stakeholders that the success of medical and dental tourism in South Africa rests on the exchange rate, and that pricing structures have to remain competitive.
- Engaging all stakeholders to keep the quality of services at international standard or higher.
- Diversifying procedures, in tandem with medical care and hospitality services offered to potential medical tourists.
- Getting the medical, dental and tourism spheres to form an even more tight-knit triad as partners who work together to offer a premier, effortlessly integrated offering to travellers from abroad.
- Advising allied businesses how to diversify their product offering so that it benefits their bottom line while still representing value to tourists, with whom they may otherwise not engage economically.
As a medical tourist destination, South Africa has it all
Most medical tourists to South Africa stay a few days more than they need in order to recuperate, statistics show, because the country as a destination encompasses so much to experience.
The spas and wellness centres combine healing techniques from around the world. Whether it’s tai chi or traditional western therapies those coming for dental tourism in South Africa are seeking, they’ll be sure to find it.
There is no shortage of extreme adventure either. From white water rafting to ziplining, skydiving and the world’s highest bridge bungee jump, microlighting and more, there is ample adventure to get that adrenaline pumping.
On the shopping front, locally made high-end fashion and the like is well made and reasonably priced compared to overseas. Most international designer lines are available here too, sometimes at a cheaper price. Duty-free shopping has the most to offer the international traveller.
As for wildlife and safari’s, the country is home to the Big 5. Besides lion, cheetahs, leopards, elephants and hippos, there are incredible and rare game and bird species at many sights.
The natural splendour of the country is also unrivalled. From majestic Table Mountain and the winelands in Cape Town, the garden route along the east coast, Durban and KwaZulu-Natal’s tropical paradise-like havens and lush lowlands and highlands to the starkly beautiful Karoo and eastern Free State.
At Silver Oaks we are a premier dental cosmetic and reconstructive surgery practice specialising in meeting the medical needs you have as a dental tourist. We have had the pleasure of performing life-altering dental work on travellers from many corners of the globe and can’t wait for you to make us your next pit stop too.
- We will plan and map out the extent of the work required and make a formal diagnosis.
- We may then have to build up the bone if it is too brittle to accept an incision straight away.
- Next comes the actual implant insertion.
- Then, we give the jaw bone time to heal.
- Your final denture or visible part of the replacement tooth is now fitted.
- We like to see you back for a final check up and to provide you with care instructions.