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Mexico wants to become a leader in Latin American Medical Tourism

Mexico wants to become a leader in Latin American Medical Tourism

Posted by Ricardo Vázquez on November 24, 2014

Mexico is a country that is known for the amount of tourists it receives, but a particular type of tourism that has an important growth potential is medical tourism.

In the last seven years this type of tourism has doubled its earnings and in 2013 it reached a value of 2,956 million dollars, as opposed to the 1,544 million dollars of 2006, according to ProMexico.

At an international level, Mexico is part of the elite of this area, being the second most important country in medical tourism. Since 2012, when the country received more than one million foreign patients, it became the second country with the most medical tourists in the world, only below the United States, but above Germany, Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and Thailand, according to Euromonitor.

Internally, this is more and more important, because it is earning just as much as beer and tequila exports together, and almost 50 percent of the total exports of the aerospace exports.

All these good expectations are based on the fact that the country has highly capacitated health professionals that are willing to take on the home and foreign markets.

For example, the Federal Secretary of Health has certified 122 hospitals, 115 of them also have international standards. Besides, the percentage of specialists among the total of general doctors in Mexico is of 62.3 percent, while the OCDE average is 57.7 percent.

Nowadays there are 20 clusters specialized in medical tourism, in destinations such as Mexico City (with 22 certified hospitals), Mexico and Nuevo Leon (11 hospitals each), Jalisco (9), Puebla (7), Chihuahua (6), Veracruz (5), Baja California (4), Guanajuato (4), Coahuila (4), Sonora (4), and Tabasco (4); according to the General Health Council, part of the Health Secretary. There are other entities such as Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi that have joined this market too.

The star of this group is Tijuana in Baja California, and this is due to the fact that Mexico neighbors the main medical tourism consumer in the world. Besides, the North American market is placed in states close to the frontier such as Arizona, Texas and California. Moreover, Hispanic patients coming from Illinois or New York are potential customers.

Another state that has been growing is Tamaulipas, it has grown by 30 percent in the last year.

The cost is also very important, according to the Medical Tourism Association; Mexico offers a range of savings of between 36 and 89 percent to a North American patient in fields such as plastic or dental surgery.

The fifth Global Summit of Business in Medical Tourism just happened in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, where Francisco Maass Peña, undersecretary of Innovation and Quality of the Federal Secretary of Tourism (Sectur) said that because of its geographical location and touristic diversity, Mexico represents a good choice for patients coming from the US and Canada that want high quality services outside of their home countries.

However, he said that the “challenge is to make potential patients from all over the world, find Mexico the best choice. That is why we are developing a promotion and communication strategy that will put Mexico as the main supplier of medical tourism”.

Despite being the second medical touristic destination at a world wide level, the government wants to consolidate Mexico as the leader of this industry. They have competitive costs, geographical advantages and potential markets, mainly the US and Canada, and with an infrastructure for medical and wellness services together with touristic attractions.

The Secretary of Tourism says that Mexico has more than one dozen of destinations that specialize in medical tourism where doctors come together with the highest medical attention that include areas such as oncology, orthopedics, cardiology, general surgery, and gastroenterology.


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