Destination Spotlight

New Zealand ~ Where Recovery Meets Discovery

Destination Spotlight

Whether visiting for medical reasons or otherwise, New Zealand tops the list in terms of a travel destination. This small but perfectly formed country is located in a remote spot in the Southern Hemisphere, and is a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation.

Nature at Its Best

The environment here is treasured and protected by the people, who, by international standards enjoy an exceptionally high standard of living and an enviable lifestyle.  The air, waterways and ecosystems in New Zealand are among the freshest and cleanest in the world, and the landscape, which includes vast mountain chains, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines, tranquil fiords and lush rainforests, are simply breathtaking.

Along with the beautiful natural spaces, there’s also the unique wildlife. There are fourteen official National Parks spanning the length and breadth of the country, encompassing a diverse range of environments and playing home to a remarkable assortment of indigenous flora and fauna.

Largely free from pollution, this beautiful green land is one of the few remaining countries around the globe to boast a pristine environment – a place where you can experience ‘the great outdoors in its original and most spectacular state – nature at its best.

Commitment to the Environment

Importantly, New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’ image extends beyond the scenery, with the local government placing significant emphasis on conservation, anti-pollution and environmental matters. There are many stringent, long-standing policies and practices in place to ensure that the country’s valuable natural resources are preserved, and the population is currently pulling together on numerous innovative and groundbreaking initiatives to guarantee a sustainable, eco-friendly future.

As a whole, New Zealand understands and acknowledges the importance of its clean, green image and strives to support it with aims such as:

  • Being the world’s first carbon-neutral country,
  • Generating 90 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, and
  • Halving its transport emissions per head by 2040.

This commitment to the environment is not only good for the health of the nation – it also makes good business sense on an international scale. In a world where untouched and unspoiled surroundings are increasingly hard to find, New Zealand certainly has an edge.

A Mecca for Medical Tourism

Indeed, this country is fast becoming a popular destination for medical tourism, one of the key reasons being that it offers such a wonderfully natural and healthy setting for overseas visitors to enjoy both treatment and recovery.

Ainsley White, Operations Manager for one of New Zealand’s leading medical tourism companies, Medtral New Zealand, comments, “People who travel to Auckland, New Zealand for surgery consistently remark on both the cleanliness and greenness of our country. They love having the convenience of being located in a cosmopolitan city, yet still experiencing the fresh air, beautiful parks and trees and clean and clear blue water during their recuperation.”

Adding to the appeal is the fact that New Zealand is first and foremost an English-speaking, first-world country with a rich heritage of producing world-class doctors and medical research. Patients who travel here from destinations such as the United States and Canada have no trouble at all relating to the culture and the people of this country, and more importantly, they can communicate clearly and easily with their medical team while at the same time enjoying the finest level of professional clinical care.

World Class Treatment

Many of New Zealand’s private hospitals are internationally accredited and offer the very latest, state-of-the-art facilities. The surgeons here are also of the highest caliber, having been trained both in New Zealand and abroad, and usually spending years of their training in either North America or Western Europe. Visiting patients benefit from both the advanced surgical amenities on offer, as well as the clinical and people skills of the medical specialists and staff.

Comfort levels for prospective patients are further assured by the fact that the hospital and medical industry in New Zealand is highly regulated and works to stringent international codes.

This country has one of the safest transfusion blood supplies in the world, operating on a ‘safety first’ policy, and employing the latest tests to screen for transmissible diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. This is despite the fact that New Zealand has an extremely low incidence of community infections such as HIV, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis, as well as a low incidence of hospital acquired infections such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus). In all cases every care is taken to protect the patient.

Over the past few years, the number of international tourists traveling to New Zealand for surgical procedures (particularly orthopedic procedures) has grown significantly. Word is getting around that this is a destination not only renowned for providing the very best quality care, services and facilities but also great cost efficiencies in a beautiful environment.

Exceptional Healthcare Value

While New Zealand is aligned medically and culturally to North America, the cost of the surgical care in this country is significantly cheaper. Prices vary depending on the particular surgical procedure required, however on average patients typically save around 60% on what they would have paid for the same operation at a hospital in another first-world country, such as the United States.

Why is it so affordable? Having a total population of only four million, the New Zealand economy is much smaller and more geographically isolated than the USA, with lower wage costs. There are two medical systems in New Zealand, a publicly funded system (which is essentially free to New Zealand residents), and a private system for those who don’t wish to wait and are willing to pay. The effect of the health insurance industry on the medical system is therefore less prevalent than in the USA, with market prices being led by the biggest funder of health care, the New Zealand Government.

In addition to this, the private hospital system in New Zealand only treats non-acute arranged surgical patients. It does not have to cope with (or need the infrastructure for) trauma and chronic conditions, which are handled by the parallel public system. As a result the costs for running a private hospital are much less.

Dr. Edward Watson, Chairman and Founder of Medtral New Zealand, was one of the first to note the huge difference in costs between New Zealand and the USA, and realized that this exceptional value combined with the country’s spectacular scenery and sophisticated tourist infrastructure gave New Zealand enormous potential as a medical tourism destination.

“Other medical travel organizations operating in a first-world environment would be hard pressed to match our overall package,” says Watson. “Even when factoring in the cost of travel and accommodation, the patient still enjoys significant savings and comes out ahead.”

Dr. Watson is also quick to point out that New Zealand provides a particularly enjoyable, restful and peaceful setting for recuperation – and like most ‘Kiwis’, he’s not only supportive but also extremely proud of his country’s clean, green heritage.

Living The Green Philosophy

“At Medtral we strive to operate as a socially responsible organization that cares about environmental, social and cultural sustainability” he says. “All our travel partners are very ‘green’ companies, including Air New Zealand who has its own carbon offset program, and the hotel chains we use, who have Green Globe certification. Medtral itself is doing its bit towards conservation, by helping with the Kauri 2000 project.”

The Kauri 2000 Project

For every patient visiting the country, Medtral New Zealand donates a native New Zealand Kauri tree seedling to the Kauri 2000 project in the patient’s name. They are presented with a certificate with the seedling number and site of planting – a legacy that will remain for thousands of years.

“In this day and age,” says Watson, “it’s important to take a leadership role in protecting the environment. New Zealand is unique, and a truly wonderful place to visit. Our aim is to keep it that way.”

About the Author

Steve Nichols is the Managing Director of Medtral New Zealand, New Zealand’s leading Medical Tourism Company. Medtral enables medical tourist’s access to world class medical treatment in a first world country, delivering exceptional healthcare value.  Find out more at

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