Medical tourism in Mexico set to quadruple if ongoing boom can be leveraged | Global Platform

International tourism to Mexico
has been increasing consistently in recent years,
reaching double-digit figures and positioning Mexico in sixth place
internationally. As for medical tourism,
it has grown organically – that is,
without the existence of integrated national strategies
to attract this type of tourism. It is estimated that 1.5 m international medical tourists came to our country in 2017. Economically speaking,
medical tourism alone represented an income
of $3.5bn in 2017, and we estimate that,
with the right strategies, this could quadruple by 2030, to reach $13.8bn. In recent decades
Mexico has been able to develop a considerable private health care industry which adheres to
international standards, provides a high-quality service and also creates opportunities, not only for professionals in the medical field but also for entrepreneurs,
investors and even investment funds, who have not yet fully recognised
the opportunity that medical tourism represents
in Mexico. Geographically, medical
tourism has developed in the border zone,
of course, being part of the
bilateral economic flows [with the US]. But it also has developed
in coastal centres, on the Pacific coast and,
the Yucatan Peninsula, and also in some destinations
in the country’s interior, particularly the Baj√≠o area and
the state of Guanajuato. However, if we think about the strength
of Mexico’s medical clusters, the medical industry
and medical expertise, the leading medical clusters
are located, of course, in Mexico City, Guadalajara
and Monterrey. There is a vast diversity
in treatments that tourists
look for in Mexico. Some are treatments
not regularly-covered by insurance policies,
such as dental treatments, some ophthalmological treatments and also plastic
or bariatric surgery. But we have also found
that some tourists come to Mexico
in order to have highly specialised treatments, such as orthopaedic treatments
or cardiovascular surgeries, where they make
considerable savings. Global trends show that
today young people, millennials, are looking for much greater access
to experiences. And these experiences
can be found in wellness tourism. They look for wellbeing,
yoga, hiking, some types of spiritual tourism,
relaxation, preemptive health care, they look for treatments
that help them to lose weight. In addition, nowadays,
these are high-value services, but there is not
a high level of demand. At present, there is no
support as such for the investments that are being
established in Mexico. But there is
a rising demand and that is enough incentive
to motivate the private sector
to evaluate the possibility of investing in this
particular industry. The cost of surgical
treatments in Mexico can be 10 times less
than in the US. And that factor
is unlikely to disappear in the short term. The possibility of being certified
in processes, reports, studies, tests and clinical-medical
tracking is very relevant. Therefore, following
international rules, and having in place all of the systems
and methods to do so, is essential if you want
to be in this industry, offering high-value services. Business people thus face
a significant challenge: to professionalise
their services, to create clusters
with other partners, to offer high-quality aftercare, to be able to attend patients
in different languages, timely attention. In the end,
patients arriving in Mexico are looking for an
integrated experience. And that experience
is based on three factors. First, the professionalism with
which their case was treated. Second, the friendliness
of the service, and here, the Mexican
experience is very relevant, precisely because
of our tourism offering. And third,
the competitive cost, that invariably in Mexico
is much more representative than in other places. We believe this is what makes this sector of strategic relevance
in Mexico.

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