Dr. Carlos Francisco Guillen Armenta, Mexicali Medical Tourism in Baja California
Mr. Guillen is a promising young politician in charge of the Mexicali Department at the State Secretariat of Tourism in Baja California, Mexico, a position he has held since September 2013. He is very passionately involved in the development of his zone and of all the state of Baja California and he recognizes the value that the medical tourism industry has gained in recent years.
In fact, he believes that while all types of tourism are important for Baja, medical tourism is the most relevant one, as it brings millions of dollars into the local economy and provides affordable medical and dental care for Americans, many from California.
Not that medical tourism and regular tourism are mutually exclusive. “Snow birds”, as American seasonal tourists are sometimes called, come to Mexicali and Baja California not only for medical care, but also to escape from the cold of winter, with many staying in Baja California for five or six months every year.
The Secretariat and Mr. Guillen’s department have advertising campaigns in progress, but according to Mr. Guillen, when it comes to your wellbeing, there’s no better ad than traditional word-of-mouth. When Americans go back home, they tell their friends and family about their experience, their vacations, and of course, their savings, which range from 60% to 80% of the price they would have paid in the United States. In addition, medical tourists can now avoid the long lines at the border by using a dedicated “medical lane.” They can obtain their pass to use this lane for free from their Mexican health provider and 2,000 Americans have already taken advantage of it.
Vision for Medical Tourism in Mexicali and Los Algodones
In Mr. Guillen’s vision for the future, he sees nothing but growth opportunities for the cities of Mexicali and Los Algodones. Hospitals, clinics and health centers are investing in continuous training and in English education for their staff. Many physicians in Baja speak fluent English, and a surprising number of them went to medical school in the United States.
The government is doing its part by helping hotels and other institutions develop medical packages for tourists, and complementing them with other attractions, such as tours to vineyards, museums, theaters, and more. It also invests heavily in infrastructure and security as well as in promotional campaigns. The medical lane is just one among many projects that the Secretariat has in store for the future.
In Los Algodones, medical tourism is by far the most important industry in the city, receiving medical tourists all year long. For Mexicali, which has a larger presence and more attractions, medical tourism is the second most important segment, but Mr. Guillen believes it can take the top spot if both the private sector and the government cooperate.
But it is not just their proximity to the United States that make Mexicali and Los Algodones favorite destinations for American medical tourists. Mr. Guillen explains that Mexicali’s unique proposition also includes security for tourists, quality hotels, medical excellence including hospitals and the one-of-a-kind medical lane making it a popular destination for those seeking medical treatment. Los Algodones also offers the services of many trained dentists and physicians, as well as the same level of security found in Mexicali. And, both cities offer health specialists that are bilingual.
Mr. Guillen doesn’t dismiss the regular tourist attractions that have proven popular with foreigners for decades, especially in Mexicali, where American tourists, medical and those simply seeking recreation, can enjoy the city’s restaurants, top-notch hotels, a variety of sports, vineyard visits (complete with wine and cheese tasting), museums and night life. And for the more adventurous, an hour or two of additional travel can take them to other natural attractions in the state.
Lastly, for American patients who are considering going to Mexicali, Mr. Guillen wants them to know that his department and the government are working hard to offer quality service, more services and excellent security. In addition, they are working with hotels, hospitals and other institutions to offer all-inclusive packages. “We want Mexicali to be the capital of medical tourism,” Mr. Guillen promises.
For those who want to go to Los Algodones, Mr. Guillen wants them to know that the city is growing little by little, and is a safe and popular destination for medical tourists from the US. In fact, many Americans can park their car in a hotel in Andrade, California and just walk across to Los Algodones.
In either case, it is good to know that the government of Baja California is committed to the safety and wellbeing of foreign visitors eager to take advantage of all that Mexico has to offer including world-class medical and dental care.
You can contact Mr. Guillen filling out this contact form: