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Destination Spotlight

Mexico City at a Glance

Destination Spotlight

Mexico City is an ideal destination for medical tourism, with the largest hospital network and the most comprehensive diagnostic and healthcare services in Latin America. Our medical services are internationally renowned for their quality, as well as the high level of personalized care offered by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. In addition, our facilities have state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technologies and equipment.

The total 844 hospitals and medical centers of Mexico City offer a wide range of treatments for cancer, cosmetic surgeries, dental care, eye care, fertility, heart disease, orthopedic medicine and general and specialized surgeries, and can cost up to 40 percent less than in the United States. Mexico City’s hospitals and medical facilities are nationally and internationally certified, and comply with the highest quality and safety standards, offering top specialists with national and international experience.

With a population of 10 million persons, Mexico City is the political capitol, and business and financial center of one of the world’s most important emerging market economies. The city has an educated, professional workforce that is helping transform it from a service-based economy to one in which knowledge-based activities will be the driver of future economic growth.

Mexico City is responsible for 21 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. If measured as a national economy, it would alone rank as the 4th largest economy in Latin America (behind Brazil, Mexico and Argentina). The city’s population supports a diverse economic base which includes business and professional services, financial institutions, the healthcare industry, economic and transportation infrastructure, government and public institutions, tourism, education and research, as well as media and entertainment.

The city government is currently investing billions to renovate public spaces and expand public transportation systems. An expansion of the city’s subway system and construction of the Metrobus Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) system is well underway. A new Ecobici bicycle-loaning system is enabling citizens to rent bicycles from locations throughout the city. The city also has programs to replace old, emission-heavy buses and taxis with newer, cleaner models.

Supporting Knowledge-Based Growth

Mexico City’s government is working with private companies, institutions and universities to promote a knowledge-based economy, particularly in the healthcare, technology and financial service sectors. Much of this activity is taking place in three regions of the city: Tlalpan, home to major hospitals and research facilities; Azcapotzalco, which has extensive industrial infrastructure, and Santa Fe, where many global and Mexican companies are headquartered.

We have created the Institute for Science & Technology as an agency responsible for developing links with universities and strengthening research and development projects within academia and the private sector. We are also developing a network of “Knowledge Cities” as a way to develop the infrastructure needed to host research and development activities from both the universities and the private sector.

Mexico City is emerging as a world-class center for research, development and innovation. Companies operating here produce 80 percent of total research and development in Mexico, and one-third of all patents. It is also where the country’s most important business, science and technology institutions are based.

To create knowledge-based growth in the healthcare sector, our government last year announced the development of a world-class center for biomedical and nano-medical research, called Campus Biometropolis. It will be integrated with the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The Campus Biometropolis will include hospitals, laboratories and medical universities, as well as residential and retail areas.

This investment will position Mexico City as a knowledge capital and a global hub of scientific and technological excellence. The state-of-the-art research and development center will attract pharmaceutical and biomedical companies from around the world and provide a platform for world-class clinical research and medical services.

Campus Biometropolis will focus on six areas of medical research and care: cancer, nutrition, care of the aging, cardiovascular, infectious diseases and pharmaceuticals. Given its close proximity to leading corporate laboratories, universities, start-up companies and public research institutions, it will offer a favorable environment to accelerate product development, clinical trials and commercialization.

The research complex, scheduled to begin construction later this year, has been designed by the internationally-acclaimed architectural firm Foster + Partners, whose previous works include the Hearst Tower in New York City and Berlin’s new Reichstag building. The sustainably designed campus will include a natural reserve and become a model for green building and electricity and water conservation.

A Focus on Education

Mexico City is one of the Western hemisphere’s leading centers of education. There are 500 public and private universities and academic institutions. The city has the highest literacy rate in the country, estimated at more than 90 percent. Students are required to attend six years of primary school and three years of secondary school. Students who want to go on to college are required to attend three years of bachillerato (college preparatory courses).

The city is home to the nation’s most important universities, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), founded in 1551. More than 350,000 students are enrolled at the sprawling university in the southern part of the city. UNAM is the largest Spanish-language university in the world. Among other respected institutions are the Colegio de México, National Polytechnic Institute, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Iberoamerican University, Anáhuac University and the United States International University.

There is a priority to invest in a well-educated workforce for the future. A total of 6.5% of Mexico City’s budget – about $700 million – is dedicated to education, science and technology investments. Broadband internet is available in 100% of the city’s public school systems. Mexico City has 400 libraries, and we are also implementing a universal scholarship program which guarantees that every student who completes junior high school will be enrolled in high school, thereby ensuring a continued expansion of the city’s educated workforce.

Promoting Sustainable Growth

Mexico City’s government, headed by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, has developed and is implementing a 15-year Green Plan to make it one of the most environmentally-conscious and sustainable cities in the world. The plan encompasses programs to address climate change, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to global warming, encourage businesses and citizens to adopt climate-friendly behavior, and repair the damage of past neglect.

Mexico City is already seeing the impact of global climate change, as rainfall and temperature patterns have changed over the past two decades. To address this challenge, we are today investing more than $1 billion a year on environmental-related infrastructure and implementing a variety of environmental programs and practices.

The Green Plan incorporates seven separate pillars: land conservation, public spaces, water supply and sanitation, transportation and mobility, air pollution, waste and recycling, and alternative energy use. These are designed to reduce the city’s GHG emissions by 7 million tons between 2008 and 2012.

Mexico City’s air quality has improved significantly in recent years. Air pollution has been a serious environmental and health problem for many years, as the city’s topography and climate contribute to trapping air pollution across the broad valley that surrounds the capital.

In 1990, there were a total of 333 days (or 92.2% of the entire year) when the ozone level was above the Mexican national standard. In 2009, the number of days in which the ozone level was above the standard fell to 180, or 49.3% of total days. In addition, the number of average hours per day that the ozone standard is above the norm has also fallen over the same period – from an average of 4.9 hours per day in 1990, to 1.5 hours per day in 2009. The result is clearer, healthier air for residents and visitors. On many days, the magnificent volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl can be seen in the distance.

The Green Plan was developed with the guidance and partnership of global environmental leaders, mayors of other large cities, leading scientific organizations, environmental non-government organizations, businesses and citizens. There is broad public support for the city’s climate initiatives.

Investing in Public Safety

Mexico City is a safe place to visit, and public safety is one of the highest priorities of the city’s leadership. While crimes committed against visitors are rare, as in any large metropolitan areas you should take common-sense precautions to ensure your well-being. Mexico City has an experienced, well-trained police force of more than 80,000 professionals.

We are currently installing a state-of-the-art network of 8,000 video cameras in high-traffic locations to aide in crime prevention and improve police and emergency response time. The first 2,100 cameras were installed in December 2009. The video surveillance system will be the most modern in the world, with each unit containing a loudspeaker for public announcements during times of crisis, a fire alarm and a “panic button” for citizens. The video system will be integrated with five command, control and communications centers (CCC) and two mobile CCC units. The city’s video surveillance network represents an investment of nearly $500 million.

Mexico City has sought police and security advice from officials in New York, London, Paris, Israel and Singapore and we are developing crime prevention programs based on some of the best practices learned from these jurisdictions.

A Welcoming City

Designated 2010 Cultural Capitol of Iberoamerica, Mexico City is the country’s most important travel destination, welcoming more than 12 million visitors a year, including both business executives as well as leisure travelers looking to discover and enjoy our wealth of cultural attractions and its sophisticated urban environment.

Mexico City is easy for North American visitors to reach: there is direct, non-stop air service from many cities, including Toronto, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition, large communities of professional expatriate workers live and work in Mexico City. They contribute to both our city’s economic dynamism and its cultural diversity. They are attracted to our wealth of business opportunities, an affordable lifestyle and unique cultural characteristics. Mexico City is also home to the largest population of U.S. expatriates living outside the United States, with an estimated 500,000 U.S. citizens living and working in the city. There are also large populations of professionals from throughout Latin America and Europe, and growing numbers from East Asia and the Middle East.

Mexico City has a long tradition of respecting political liberties and social activism. Freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and freedom of association are fully respected. The city government has de-penalized abortion, adopted gender equality laws, passed one of Latin America’s first gay marriage law, and developed programs to foster economic and social equality.

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