Baja California ranks first in medical tourism in Mexico, despite pandemic

11/07/2021

Baja California remains at the forefront of medical tourism in Mexico, mainly coming from the United States, who visit the border town of Algodones in Mexicali, where orthodontic and plastic surgery specialties stand out; or the city of Tijuana, which is considered the world capital of bariatric surgeries, due to the quality of its massive weight loss procedures.

Medical tourism: an area of ​​opportunity for Mexico. Image: Wikimedia
Medical tourism: an area of ​​opportunity for Mexico. Image: Wikimedia

Given the importance of this activity, which is largely due to the excellent physicians in the state, permanent verification operations are being carried out in offices, clinics, and private hospitals. The inspectors of State Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks check that the establishments operate with a sanitary license, that the operating rooms work according to the regulations, that the X-ray equipment has the corresponding authorization and that the material used has the import permits, in addition to the fact that the doctors have a degree and professional license.

In the metropolitan area of Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito, as well as in the town of Algodones, there are around 100 doctor's offices and more than a thousand hospitals. In the last year, approximately 100 suspensions and closures were applied to clinics in Baja California that were operating in an irregular manner, due to the use of products of dubious origin or because the personnel did not have documents that accredited their specialty.

The establishments with problems are few in comparison with the great majority that offer top-quality services, which keeps Baja California at the forefront of medical tourism in the country.

According to the consulting firm Deloitte, medical tourism generates more than eight billion dollars a year for the country. The industry is growing at an average annual rate of 33.7 percent and is expected to reach a value of 10 billion dollars by 2023. With procedures that are between 25 and 80 percent cheaper than in the United States or Canada, Tijuana's Secretary of Economic Development reported that, despite the pandemic, in 2020 1.9 million tourists arrived seeking health services and left an economic revenue of 1.2 billion dollars.