Riviera Maya becoming a medical tourism hot spot
While the U.S. continues to work on its health care reform, thousands of Americans continue to head south for medical treatments. Mexico has become a favored destination for those wanting dental, medical and cosmetic procedures.
Mark Porter, a Chicago resident who recently made two trips to Mexico for dental treatments, says, “For less than the price of a procedure at my dentist back home, I was able to get excellent service in Mexico, and even with the cost of hotel and airfare, it was still cheaper.
“It’s like getting a vacation thrown in for the price of a procedure.”
According to Servando Acuna-Braun, president of Medical Travel Under the Sun, a company that markets medical tourism in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Cozumel, the numbers of U.S. and Canadian visitors who arrive in Mexico for non-elective and elective treatments is continually rising.
“Today, there are three types of medical destinations in Mexico,” Acuna-Braun said, noting that they fall into three main categories: border towns (Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez), large cities (Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City) and leisure destinations (Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun).
Acuna-Braun explains that if the new law, the General Law of Medical Tourism, is passed in the Mexican senate this year, the potential for industry growth could increase even further. The new law is set up to create new platforms for regulating and promoting the medical tourism industry within Mexico.
There are already numerous travel agents and organizations set up to help North Americans create medical travel packages. Clients wanting to add a cosmetic or medical angle to their next trip to Mexico can arrange to have a package created to accommodate their procedure and recovery time.
The Mexican Council of the Medical Tourism Industry had already created strategic alliance with influential organizations such as the World Tourism Organization and members of Mexican plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists and dentists to help better promote the region as a qualified medical tourism destination.
According to Patients Beyond Borders, the level of service in Mexico now triumphs that of other popular medical tourism destinations including Asia.
The Mexico Tourism Board reports that of Mexico’s 96 hospitals, more than 20 destinations throughout the country offer health care options for foreign visitors, saying that these services are generally 60 to 80 percent less expensive than in the U.S.