Guatemala. One of the lessons left by the pandemic is to prioritize physical and mental health. From this account, although the sector has been hit this time, health tourism is making its way little by little in the midst of related changes such as digitization and the development of new technological services.
According to AGEXPORT, there are currently world-class health services in Guatemala such as dental clinics, plastic and cosmetic surgery clinics; Ophthalmology clinics. Centers for cosmetic dermatology, hair restoration, rehabilitation, neurosurgery, oncology, and phlebology; Hospitals and outpatient centers; medical facilitators hotels; Specialized tour operators and tourism service providers accounted for more than $1,500 million in bills at the end of 2019, equivalent to 1.1% of the country’s GDP, and created more than 58,000 direct jobs.
The pandemic came to accelerate many of the changes that were already expected in the health and hospital tourism sector. For example, an important digital transformation, given that the technology applied in this field has become a real ally in ensuring the quality of access to medical care. More and more people are turning to telemedicine to receive advice and video consultations on the spot, and get a better holistic experience, including beyond physical and personal health practices such as fitness, spa and mental health, which have gained importance for the integration of the well- added Dr. Georgina Fonseca, Chair of the Tourism, Health and Welfare Committee of AGEXPORT.
Fonseca noted that of the US$1.5 billion billed in 2019, US$75 million was allocated to the export concept of “health and wellness tourism” services; The currently unsurpassed figure derived from the impact of the pandemic, but with positive expectations by the end of 2022, as the sector has achieved a recovery so far of more than 70%.
From this positive perspective, AGEXPORT Tourism, Health and Welfare Authority is implementing two operations aimed at generating international business and stimulating training of companies in this sector on new trends applicable to health services.
The first was a FAM tour with 5 medical facilitators interested in learning about Guatemala as a destination for health and wellness tourism.
The expedition was carried out by the Tourism, Health and Welfare Authority of Ajaxport from 28 August to 2 September. Some of the international promoters were visiting the country for the first time, so they got to know first-hand about Guatemala’s health and wellness services that make up the group of specialized services for the care of international patients.
Guided tours have been offered to hospitals, dental clinics, plastic and cosmetic surgery clinics, centers specializing in oncology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology and more. Visitors were acquainted with the modern facilities of these centers, their advanced medical technologies, the high quality of their services by specialized medical professionals abroad and of course the warmth of service that distinguishes Guatemalans.
“On this family tour, we had the opportunity to interact with representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada, and we are confident that this can open up international spaces for us to promote Guatemala as a safe medical tourism destination that in turn has the experts and technology to meet any need. In the same way, these can The visit will bring us as a result the positioning of Guatemala as a destination for medical tourism in the near future.” Fonseca stressed.
During the tour, the opportunity was taken to demonstrate the diversity of tourist and cultural attractions, including a guided tour of Antigua Guatemala City, where they also learned about a portion of the health and wellness offering through its world-class hotels and spas.
The second action focused on global trends in the health sector, which is why they held the second conference on health and well-being: “Global trends in healthcare”, led by the AGEXPORT Tourism, Health and Welfare Committee, with the support of the EU Mipymes and Cooperatives + Competitive Project which served as the stage to announce the The potential that currently exists in the country and the world in terms of technology, data usage, quality of services, health providers, and a boom in mental health and wellness care.
“This second Health and Wellbeing Conference has had more than 20 allies from the public and private sectors and international organizations related to the health sector and specifically targets all health professionals in their various medical branches, medical students and related professions, companies from the value chain and all those interested in learning about global trends in healthcare and the use of technology As an ally to improve the patient experience.” said Mr. Mario Lopez, Vice President of Tourism, Health and Wellbeing AGEXPORT.
Second Health and Welfare Conference in Guatemala: 12 leaders will speak on “Global Health Care Trends”
The event expects around 150 in-person participants and approximately 150+, with participation at the regional level. The conference agenda will feature 6 local and 6 international leaders from Spain, India, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina. The offerings they will deliver are: Global Trends in Health and Wellness Tourism by Pramod Goel, CEO of PlacidWay USA, Revolutionizing Personalized Medicine by Dr. Tania Lobo, ROCHE Medical Director for Central America and the Caribbean; Trends and Digital Training for Future Health Professionals by Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Podiatrist at the National Pediatric Association at Barrie University in Miami Florida and a topic of great importance worldwide There is no health without mental health by Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos, Professor of Psychiatry at New York University in the United States, among other countries.
In addition, with the conclusion of FamTour, a specialized business conference will take place with more than 40 business meetings between medical facilitators who have visited Guatemala and companies providing health and wellness services, thanks to the support of the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism, INGUAT, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Network of Guatemalan Business Advisers Abroad .
On the morning of Friday, September 2, an academic session will be held for medical students and professions related to the health sector in the various universities of Guatemala City to learn about the latest global trends in this sector and the future of accredited medical services. to new technologies, culminating in a high-level discussion and recognition of prominent companies promoting medical tourism in Guatemala.
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