Raul Bustamante on WellHotel and Medical Tourism in Puerto Rico

Raul Bustamante, managing director of the Condado Plaza Hilton answered some questions about medical tourism in Puerto Rico and the WellHotel Certification Program.

Could you tell us about your hotel and all of its guest services? At The Condado Plaza Hilton we are committed to providing our Health & Wellness guests the best accommodations and amenities. Following their medical or dental appointment, guests can relax in our accessible salt water pool or get a poolside massage. We are located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Condado Lagoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s vibrant Condado Area. The hotel is close to most medical facilities in the area and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport; and five minutes from historic Old San Juan.

What services have you added that cater to health and wellness travelers?   I.e., special menu, transportation, certain rooms dedicated for this, etc. The Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, offers a full range of upscale hotel amenities to meet the needs of the medical traveler. Five onsite restaurants and four pools located throughout the grounds – including Puerto Rico’s only saltwater pool.

We offer special guest room rates for our Medical Tourism guests. For reservations or special pre-arrival requests, additional information or inquiries about Medical Tourism please contact us at sjuco_medicaltourism@hilton.com

Do you have any health and wellness partners (spas, retreats, hospitals or clinics, etc.? Our hotel partners with 11 health organizations, including hospitals, cardio centers and dental offices.

Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital Auxilio Mutuo Hospital
Cardiovascular Center of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean HIMA Health
Metro Pavia Ashford Dental
Centro Sononuclear Dietrich Dental
International Smile Designers San Patricio Medflix
Vista Ophthalmic Ambulatory Center

 

How do you think this niche of the market benefits your hotel? Medical tourism focuses on providing medical and health services for tourists and travelers from different destinations and markets. It has shown incredible growth within the tourist industry at a global level. Travelers who visit Puerto Rico for medical and health services will find many first-rate medical facilities and a welcoming environment at The Condado Plaza.

Could you tell me about your experience so far with health and wellness partners and what are your expectations? The health and wellness fields are always changing; we believe that by working closely with our partners, understanding their business, staying current on the newest techniques and trends in wellness is important for both of our success.

Why would hospitals/clinics etc. decide to refer health and wellness travelers to your hotel over another hotel in the area? Our location is important as we are approximately 15 minutes away from most medical facilities in the area. Our service and brand promise; we are passionate about what we do and are eager to make our guests feel welcomed and taken care of.

What services are you aware of that health and wellness travelers are seeking and where are they coming from? What is the target market for this industry? We believe that PR is becoming a destination for specialized, quality care, for specific conditions or diseases. Patients from nearby Islands seek specialized attention, for cardiac problems, obstetric care, and plastic surgery, to name a few. They are often looking for medical expertise and treatments that are not offered where they live.

Tell us why it was important for your hotel to participate in the WellHotel Certification Program? Patients need information when looking into a destination for medical care. Being certified provides an additional level of security to the patient; it assists them in making an educated decision regarding their health care choices and the hotel where they will stay to rest. Patients often look for recommendations from friends, family, and sometimes use social media sites; having well-established hospitality service procedures influences on the decision to choose our Hotel. The convenience of being certified along with other health care providers presents the opportunity to showcase our capability to think outside a one-size-fits-all approach. Wellness partner who truly care about the patients’ health and well-being by delivering high-level service with every interaction.

Can you tell me why you think Puerto Rico is a great destination for health and wellness tourism? Puerto Rico is part of the United States; it follows the same US Federal and State Legal System. No passports or visas traveling between the U.S. and Puerto Rico are needed. The cost of Medical and Dental services in Puerto Rico are 40% to 60% lower than in the Continental U.S. Trained and board certified surgeons and dentists. Hospitals and clinics are joint commission Accredited (JCAHO) and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAHC); state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure. You can combine leisure and healthcare; and the proximity to the USA, Canada and Latin America.

What do you think of the government’s initiative to establish Puerto Rico as a destination for health and wellness tourism? This is a great initiative on the side of the government, considering Puerto Rico’s location in the Caribbean. Being probably the most advanced island in the region, and its affiliation with the U.S., creates a tremendous opportunity that the government is maximizing; its infrastructure of hotels, airport, seaport and other attributes, facilitates the launching of this activity. Additionally, the present economic situation of the island is ripe for any attempt to create economic growth and added revenue opportunities for its population.

What do you think about the WellHotel Certification program? Being certified provides an additional level of security to the patient; it assists them in making an educated decision regarding their health care choices and the hotel where they will stay to rest.

What message do you have for our readers about Puerto Rico, its tourism infrastructure, its health and wellness services, and why is it the ideal destination for them? As mentioned earlier, Puerto Rico is the center of economic activity in the Caribbean as a result of its affiliation with the U.S., together with its infrastructure of airports, hotels and seaports. Its network of healthcare facilities is one of the most sophisticated in the Caribbean, which is paramount to this endeavor. Its weather an added benefits for anyone coming to Puerto Rico for vacation, business, or medical purposes; the number of direct flights with the U.S, South America and Europe, adds to the above. All these attributes make Puerto Rico the ideal destination for this purpose.

Why would a health and wellness traveler choose Puerto Rico for these kinds of services and your hotel to stay at? The hotel is situated in the beachfront community of Condado, between 10 and 15 minutes from most medical facilities in the area. Our hotel partners with 11 health organizations, including hospitals, cardio centers and dental offices. U.S. residents often take advantage of this territory’s proximity, lower medical and dental costs (from 40% to 60%) and U.S. Trained and board-certified surgeons and dentists who use modern technology. Travel from the U.S. to Puerto Rico does not require a passport or visa.

About Raúl Bustamante

Mr. Raúl Bustamante has been a Board member in a variety of Boards of Directors in the private and public sctors of Puerto Rico. He was appointed President of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association in 1995 and 1996, and has served twice as Chairman of “Meet Puerto Rico,” formerly known as the Puerto Rico’s Convention Bureau; the first time during the construccion of the Puerto Rico Convention Center between 2001 and 2005, and most recently between 2011 and 2013. This position is appointed by the Governor of Puerto Rico.

Among other distinctions, Mr. Bustamante was elected “Hotelier of the Year” by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association in 1995 and 2008. He has also been a Director of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Tourim Company, the Puerto Rico Convention Center District, the Scholarship Fundation for the Hotel Industry, and the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico in several occasions. Mr. Bustamante was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico for eight years.

Recently, he has been awarded by the Caribbean Business as one of the top 10 Business Leaders in Puerto Rico, and very recently the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association appointed him President of the committee that represents the Owners and General Managers of the different hotels in Puerto Rico.

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