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Baja business groups launch medical tourism campaigns

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 19:01:48 -0800

We would like to share a recent article from the SD Union-Tribune about Medical Tourism in Baja Mexico.

For
decades, U.S. residents have crossed the border into Mexico in search of cheap
dentistry, alternative health care and pharmacies providing easy access
to prescription drugs.

Now, health providers in Tijuana
say they have much more to offer in the way of sophisticated medical
office procedures and hospital care, and have created business groups
aimed at getting that word out to U.S. consumers.

“In
the past, the focus was on low cost. But in the last five years,
doctors have been offering more complex treatments, hiring more
bilingual personnel and doing more professional marketing,” said Flavio
Olivieri, executive director of the Tijuana Industrial and Economic
Development Corp. and cofounder of the Tijuana Medical Tourism
Association.
The biggest draw
still is low cost, medical tourism experts said, with fees for services
such as dentistry, laser eye surgery, plastic surgery, cancer treatment
and bariatric weight-loss procedures generally running 40 percent to 70
percent lower than in the U.S. Dental implants that may cost $2,800
north of the border can be as low as $800 in Mexico, while a $50,000 hip
replacement in the U.S. could run $13,000 down south.

Olivieri
said the marketing campaign is critical in helping Tijuana recover from
a drastic drop in cross-border visitors. Long waits into and out of
Mexico have traditionally been a problem, but crossings plunged in 2008
with the recession and a surge in drug-related violence in the Tijuana
region, followed in 2009 by travel warnings when the H1N1 flu proved
deadly in central Mexico.

“The
market shrank overnight,” said Olivieri, a speaker on medical tourism
Monday at Tijuana Innovadora, a two-week, $5 million conference aimed at
boosting the international profile and economic clout of one of
Mexico’s largest metropolitan areas.

Today,
the flu is a vague memory and perception of Tijuana as a violent city
held hostage by warring drug gangs is beginning to wane. Homicides
dropped from a high of 844 killings in 2008 to 664 in 2009 and 638 as of
last week, in part because of a coordinated crackdown by military and
civilian authorities.

According
to the Baja California Secretary of Tourism, about 250,000 people a
month visit Tijuana for health products and medical services, most of
them Californians.

Roughly 60
percent are Hispanics living in the U.S. The next largest group is
people seeking alternative medical treatments, followed by “Anglo
middle-income Americans” wanting high-quality yet low-cost care.

The Baja
tourism office, the Tijuana Convention and Visitors Bureau, and new
medical tourism business groups in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito Beach and
Ensenada are working on promotional strategies.



AmigoMexInsurance invites you to visit Baja and properly protect your vehicle when driving to Mexico. To Quote, Buy and Print your Mexico Auto Insurance Policy in minutes, visit www.amigomexinsurance.com or call us at 800-554-2247.


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