To consolidate Mexico as world leader in Health Tourism, different consortiums have developed specialized centers where high-end hotels and hospitals are articulated. Mexico has always been a reference in the field of tourism worldwide; the offer that our country boasts is made up of diverse types of attractions worthy of admiration. One of the areas that is gaining great acceptance in recent years is Health Tourism, which is divided into two main axes: Medical Tourism and Wellness Tourism.
The first focuses on surgical procedures, ambulatory interventions (in many cases aesthetic) and drug treatments.
The second refers to activities that are related to areas of relaxation such as spas, spiritual retreats and assistance to the elderly, just to name a few.
In order to be able to offer this service, different companies have developed specialized centers that feature world-class hotel accommodations and state-of-the-art hospitals. Similarly, in the case of wellness tourism, there are establishments that provide comfortable and comprehensive assistance at the highest level.
- A growing opportunity
This type of tourism has shown a growing trend in recent years and Mexico has emerged as the second country with the highest participation in this industry (Thailand ranks first).
In 2015, around 4.7 million visitors were received, including patients and companions, which meant an economic revenue of more than 3 billion US dollars, according to ProMéxico reports. For 2017, aprroximately 5 million people entered Mexican territory in search of health services, according to data from Euromonitor.
One of the opportunities in this area for Mexico would be the proposal presented by the current US President, Donald Trump, regarding the gradual repeal of Obamacare, a law that provides access to more Americans to the health sector of the neighboring country in the north.
The Office of Budgets of the United States Congress has detected that around 17 million people would be without health insurance in 2018. This figure would be consolidated in 2026, since at the end of the process of disappearance of this law, it is expected that the number grows to 32 million, an attractive market for the Mexican health sector.
Undoubtedly, low costs are one of the reasons why Mexico is one of the most chosen destinations in this field. The main tourist flows come from the United States and Canada; and in comparison with these countries, the prices offered by Mexican Medical Clusters fluctuate between 36 and 89 percent lower (depending on the treatment).
Another of the aspects that positions Mexico as a leader in health tourism is human capital: it is estimated that 62.3 percent of general practitioners have some specialty, a figure that exceeds the OECD average.
According to ProMéxico, the specialties that attract more visitors from other countries are cardiology, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, fertility, reproductive health, oncology, orthopedics, dentistry and assistance to the elderly.
One of the reforms that are currently being analyzed with regard to the subject of health tourism, is the one which refers to exempting the visa for those people who seek to receive a service related to this area. The modification of the Migration Law has already been approved by the Mexican Congress and now it is managed in the Senate of the Republic, following the protocol of application to this order.
The recognition of the Joint Commission International (JCI) is essential for hospitals and clinics that seek to export this type of service, in addition to providing patients peace of mind by supporting the activities of the health units, and reinforcing the institutional image of hospitals.
Some of the clusters that have this type of accreditation are Hospital Faro del Mayab, Médica Sur, Christus Muguerza, among others.
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