Before the massive vaccination campaigns began in our country, many Mexicans traveled to the United States in search of a covid-19 vaccine, resulting in the payment of thousands of pesos to obtain their two doses of the vaccine, which caused a moderate recovery in the airlines. travel agencies. The Federal Ministry of Tourism has placed great expectations on the growth of medical tourism in the country, which for several years has been positioning and consolidating itself as a relevant sub-sector for attracting foreign tourists.
Health tourism is an economic activity that has grown by leaps and bounds internationally, and has created the recruitment of thousands of people from developed to developing countries. A strange fact is that until a few years ago the flow of people looking for quality medicine abroad was in the opposite direction, from developing countries to the most advanced. Today it is a practice that is carried out in various parts of the world with great success. There are already 46 countries that stand out in the world in providing medical services to foreigners, according to the 2020 Medical Tourism Index -2021, including Mexico.
Mexico has great competitive advantages in terms of healthcare and treatment, as it has state-of-the-art hospitals and clinics, top-level tourist infrastructure, geographic proximity to the United States – from which the largest number of patients come -, very affordable prices. Below those of the neighbor to the north and shorter waiting times, in addition to quality, warmth and professionalism. Mexico is well above OECD countries with 63.4% of specialist doctors offering their services, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The main foreign applicants for medical services are from the states of California, Arizona and Texas, in the United States. In addition, patients from Canada and Great Britain are very attracted to services in our country, according to the Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Policy.
The Association for Medical Tourism states that surgical interventions and medical treatments in our country, in specialties such as cardiology, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dentistry and oncology, among others, are between 40% and 80% cheaper than in the USA, from there. 80% of the tourists who travel to Mexico for health reasons come from her.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) states that an export of a service exists when payment for it is made by a resident of another country. and define these three categories:
Health tourism: is the process of leaving the country or country of residence to receive care and treatment abroad.
Medical tourism: surgical procedures and medical treatments; External procedures (teeth, eyes and some cosmetic products).
Health tourism: activities aimed at relaxation, lifestyle changes, spas, spiritual retreats, retirement homes and assistance to the elderly, among others.