Guatemala. One of the lessons left by the pandemic was to give priority to physical and mental health. From that account, and although this time the sector was hit, little by little health tourism is making its way in the midst of relevant changes such as digitization and development of new technological services.
According to the AGEXPORT Tourism, Health and Welfare Commission, currently global health services in Guatemala such as dental clinics, plastic and aesthetic surgery clinics; ophthalmology clinics; aesthetic dermatology, hair restoration, rehabilitation, neurosurgery, oncology and vein surgery centers; hospitals and outpatient centers; medical facilitators; Hotels; specialized tour operators and tourism service providers represent more than US$1,500 million in billing at the end of 2019, equivalent to 1.1% of the country’s GDP, also generating more than 58 thousand direct jobs.
“The pandemic came to accelerate many changes that were already being anticipated in the health and wellness tourism sector. For example, an important digital transformation, given that the technology applied to this area has become a true ally in guaranteeing quality access to medical care. More and more people are turning to telemedicine to receive advice and video consultations immediately, having a better comprehensive experience, including beyond the physical but personal health practices such as fitness, spa and mental health, which has gained relevance for the integrality of the well-being of the person”, added Dr. Georgina Fonseca, president of the Tourism, Health and Well-being Commission of AGEXPORT.RELATED
Fonseca indicated that of the US$1.5 billion invoiced in 2019, US$75 million were for the concept of exporting “Health and Wellness Tourism” services; figure currently not surpassed derived from the impact of the pandemic, but with favorable expectations for the end of 2022, since to date the sector has had a recovery of over 70%.
In this positive perspective, the Tourism, Health and Welfare Commission of AGEXPORT is carrying out two actions that aim to generate international business and motivate the training of companies in the sector in the new trends applied to health services.
The first was a Fam Tour with 5 medical facilitators interested in getting to know Guatemala as a destination for Health and Wellness Tourism.
The AGEXPORT Tourism, Health and Welfare Commission carried out this reconnaissance trip from August 28 to September 2. Some of the international promoters were visiting the country for the first time, so they learned first-hand about Guatemala’s health and wellness services that make up the portfolio of specialized services for international patient care.
The guided tours were given in hospitals, dental clinics, plastic and cosmetic surgery clinics, specialized centers in oncology, otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology, among others. The visitors learned about the modern facilities of these centers, their advanced medical technology and the high quality of their services through specialized medical professionals abroad and of course the warmth of the service that characterizes Guatemalans.
“In this fam tour we had the opportunity to interact with representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada and we are confident that this can open international spaces for us to promote Guatemala as a safe destination for medical tourism and that in turn has the experts and the technology to meet any need. In the same way, this visit can 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 show the diversity of tourist and cultural attractions, including a guided tour of the city of Antigua Guatemala, in which they also learned about part of the health and wellness offer through its hotels and spas of international quality.
The second action was focused on global trends for the health sector, which is why they held the 2nd Congress on Health and Well-being: “Global Trends for Health Care”, led by the Tourism, Health and Well-being Commission of AGEXPORT, with the support of the Mipymes and Cooperatives + Competitive Project of the European Union and which was the stage to publicize the potential that currently exists in the country and the world in terms of technology, use of data, quality of services professionals, health providers and the boom in mental health care and Wellness.
“This 2nd Congress of Health and Well-being had more than 20 allies from the public and private sectors and international organizations related to the health sector and is especially aimed at all health professionals in their different medical branches, medical students and related careers, companies of the value chain and all those interested in knowing the global trends for health care and the use of technology as an ally to improve the patient experience. Without a doubt, it will be two days of great learning for this sector, which has been preparing to let the world know that Guatemala has quality health services,” said Mr. Mario López, vice president of the Tourism, Health and AGEXPORT well-being.
2nd Congress of Health and Well-being in Guatemala: 12 leaders will speak about the “Global Trends for Health Care”
The event expects around 150 participants in person and more than 150 virtually, 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 presentations they will give are: Global Trends for Health and Wellness Tourism by Pramod Goel, CEO of PlacidWay USA, The Revolution of Personalized Medicine by Dr. Tanya Lobo, Medical Manager for ROCHE in Central America and the Caribbean ; Trends and Digital Training for Future Health Professionals by Dr. Luis Rodriguez, NCAA Podiatrist at Barry University in Miami Florida and a topic of great relevance 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 others.
Additionally, and as the closing of the FamTour, a specialized business conference will be held with more than 40 business meetings between the medical facilitators who have been visiting Guatemala and the companies that provide 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 trade advisors for Guatemala abroad.
On the morning of Friday, September 2, an academic session will be held for medical students and careers related to the health sector in the different universities of Guatemala City to learn about the latest global trends in the sector and the future of the medical services adopted. to new technologies, culminating in a high-level discussion and recognition of outstanding companies that promote Medical Tourism in Guatemala.
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