Medical tourism is an industry that has been experiencing continuous growth in recent years. It is an area of interest not only for the host countries (the suppliers), but also for countries with high medical costs (the consumers), which are typically industrialized countries. There is a need to study the nature of the industry within and across host countries to determine how this growth can lead to economic development through improved efficiency. This paper will review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the medical tourism markets in Mexico and the Philippines. A PEST (political, economic, social, and technological factors) analysis will be conducted within the context of each country to determine the socio-political stability of the market infrastructure, and the obstacles to growth. The results will provide further analysis of strengths such as government initiatives and country specialization, and weaknesses such as communication problems and travel risks. The analysis of opportunities explores the nature of alliances among various industries, such as those among employers or insurance companies, healthcare providers, and medical tourism facilitators. It will also provide a comparison of the two countries by highlighting their comparative advantages, and how they differentiate themselves from other countries. Part of the threat analysis will examine the competition facing these two countries from major rivals (e.g. India, Malaysia, and Singapore) in the region. Finally, the research will consist of a review of existing literature as well as an analysis of the current policies and programs these countries are offering. Aspects of the medical tourism market that each country needs to improve in order to become leading medical tourism destinations will be identified.
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