West Palm Beach, Florida| November 7, 2012- After four days of speeches, networking, workshops and entertainment the 5th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (WMT & GHC) concluded with excitement and motivation towards furthering the growth of the medical tourism industry.
The positive comments I have received about the Congress have just been overwhelming, if I measured the level of success based off the number of satisfied responses then this would definitely be proven to have been the best year yet, said Renée-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association.
In its fifth year the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (WMT & GHC) was host to over 1,500 attendees from 90 different countries. Professionals from industries such as; U.S. and international health insurance companies, employers, travel agents, government officials, hospitals, providers, Ministers of Health, Economy and Tourism and several others came together for a globally unified event.
I think that this Congress is one of the biggest events, and my country has to be here because it's the best place to show what initiatives we are doing right now and it's the perfect scenario to work on our strategies, said Miguel Angel Pulido, National Director of Health Tourism Sector for Colombia and delegate from ProExport Colombia, Gold Sponsor of the WMT & GHC.
My goal was to find key players to invite them to my country to show them what we are doing and to change the perception; I have already invited six speakers to Colombia, he added.
With exhibitors and sponsors from around the world, the exhibit hall was full each day of attendees stopping booth by booth for meetings or just to discover a new possibility. The Medical Tourism Association's (MTA) booth, located at the entrance of the hall, was surrounded from open to close by attendees looking to learn about all the MTA's programs, certifications or to pick up a copy of the Medical Tourism Magazine- Pre Congress Issue or the Miami Destination Guide, both released at the Congress.
In addition to the high energy in the exhibit hall, executive summits and the private yacht party; the educational sessions were packed with global participants eager to learn from the best in the industry.
The WMT & GHC had a special focus this year on their academic track; professors, authors and expert speakers were invited to come and educate the audience in their area of expertise.
CME credits were available to healthcare providers that attended certain sessions; these sessions specifically had a large turnout and some with standing room only. The theme of the conference quickly became education.
We could see the latest trends in medical tourism and where the industry is going, we learned a lot, for example, from a marketing session we learned what the best usage of social media is, which is something we never thought about, but it is very important for customer interactions, said Naoko Miake from Booz & Company in Japan and representative for the Japan Tourism Agency.
In previous years the conferences have been aimed at education, but with the extra efforts towards it this year, it made a big difference for attendees that came to learn.
“I believe the academic track elevated the discourse on the industry of medical tourism by moving the fledgling industry from excitement and anticipation to a firmer foundation of research and empirical exploration,” said Dan Cormany, Professor at Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University. “The future is built on verifiable knowledge and demonstrations of proven results, and this track starts that process, so it is of benefit to practitioners as well as those with a more research orientation.”
Ideas were developed, best practices were shared and partnerships were made all for innovative healthcare solutions. Networking has been featured as a conference highlight each year, and this year was no different. Networking lunches, cocktail receptions, extended exhibit hall hours and the networking software designed for the WMT & GHC provided several opportunities for attendees to get in front of the people they came to see.
I have had a wonderful time meeting all kinds of people, it's been very interesting and extremely productive, said Carlos Diago from DaVinci Biosciences and attendee of the Congress. I've gained more awareness, and I'm finding out what certain countries are doing, this event has definitely exceeded our expectations.
About the Company
The World Medical Tourism & Global Health Congress is sponsored by the Medical Tourism Association. The Medical Tourism Association (MTA) is a global non-profit association for the medical tourism and international patient industry.
The MTA works with healthcare providers, governments, insurance companies, employers and other buyers of healthcare – in their medical tourism, international patient, and healthcare initiatives, with a focus on providing the highest quality transparent healthcare.
The MTA is also committed to raising consumer awareness of international healthcare options, and has specific initiatives designed to educate and increase the number of consumers who travel for healthcare. The MTA is also committed to educating consumers about their options internationally for medical treatment.
The MTA educates consumers through its programs; such as its Health & Wellness Destination Guides and through the #1 rated internet portal for healthcare consumers: www.MedicalTourism.Com . The MTA produces the Medical Tourism Magazine, a bi-monthly publication dedicated to providing the most up-to-date news in the industry.
Associate Editor, Medical Tourism Magazine