Medical tourism: an area of ​​opportunity for Mexico

In the last 10 years, the income for medical tourism tripled in Mexico by 4 thousand 798 million dollars in 2016, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism. The country is considered one of the most visited by patients for medical tourism. According to Dr. Marco Antonio Conde Pérez, president of the Medical Tourism Cluster for Puebla and Veracruz, until before the last six years Mexico did not have this type of initiative.

Currently, Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Cuba are considered benchmarks in medical tourism as well as other Asian countries such as India.
Currently, Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Cuba are considered benchmarks in medical tourism as well as other Asian countries such as India.

"Tourism has grown and we are talking about figures of one billion pesos as opposed to the past six years and I think there has been a good upturn and we are working to grow much more," says Conde Pérez.

In Mexico, the strongest cities in the sector are Tijuana, Mexico City, Querétaro and Cancún, but one of the objectives is to position other entities such as Veracruz within the main destinations of medical tourism.

Dr. Conde notes that on average, patients spend around $ 30,000 on their visit to Mexico.

"In the case of cosmetic surgery [the patient] will spend an average of 7 to 10 thousand dollars and this will be added everything that is the subsequent stay, the treatments that will be made, conventional tourism, among other expenses more . "

The United States is the country where most tourists come because of its proximity to Mexico, but the expert points out that in the case of Cancun, it is European patients who dominate the market.

Aesthetic surgeries have become the most popular, because according to Dr. Conde:

"There are more patients traveling to perform aesthetic procedures than traditional medicine procedures."

"Aesthetics is the specialty for which more patients are received," says the expert. Among the most popular surgeries is liposculpture, because in Mexico it is performed daily. Secondly, the breast implant is a surgery that American patients request a lot. Finally, the rhinoplasty that is also the queen of surgeries, after the rest.

However, another area requested in Mexico is dentistry. This specialty is usually sought in the country because of its high cost in the United States, since dental treatment can amount up to $ 10,000 in total.

Currently, Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Cuba are considered benchmarks in medical tourism as well as other Asian countries such as India.

Therefore, the specialist says that one of the priorities of the sector is to have the support of the current administration:

"(To) carry out a program of diffusion in the United States and in other countries and instill the confidence that the patient needs"

The certification of hospitals is also a priority for the sector. "There are already several hospitals approved by the Joint Commission International (JCI), which is the most important certifier in that area," says Dr. Conde.