Health Tourism Destination Development


Health Tourism Practice Team Leader

Maria Todd Speaking about medical tourism in South AfricaMercury Healthcare International's CEO, Dr. Maria K. Todd is the author of the best selling medical tourism business improvement books in the industry. Each title was peer reviewed and published by leading international life sciences publishers.  Ms Todd manages each project and coordinates expert assignments on health tourism destination development and investor advisory services.

Dr Todd brings her work experience in tourism and healthcare to assist governments, health facilities and investors create strategic marketing plans and identify target source markets. She helps them innovate and connect with domestic and international health and wellness tourism consumers.

Dr Todd has guided governments and health and tourism businesses achieve their business goals for attracting new market shares of individual consumers, self-funded companies and unions, and public and private health insurers and third-party payers.

Maria Todd consults to global health care providers to build destination attractiveness and prepare for international hospital accreditation, and design marketing and branding strategies to build health and wellness tourism brand preference.  She also coaches medical travel coordinators and travel agents on business startup, operational workflows, travel planning, site and destination inspection techniques, and contract negotiations with doctors, health facilities, spas, hotels and resorts and destination management vendors and suppliers.


So why do so many hospitals, clinics, doctors and dentists try to build a medical tourism service without the official support of their tourism and economic development agencies and collaborating stakeholders?

Are you Good? Or Are You Lucky?

Any obscure private hospital, clinic, doctor or dentist can be lucky and occasionally sell a surgery, consultation or a checkup to a patient coming from a place far away.  But developing a health and wellness tourism destination that attracts hundreds of medical travel visitors per month requires the support and assistance of several government authorities.

We help destination authorities and stakeholders work collaboratively to prepare, organize and market their medical tourism destination. Medical tourism destination hubs takes planning, funding, and strategic assessment of the existing destination assets. A gap analysis is conducted to determine the minimum necessary embellishments and enhancements to add distinction and differentiation.

Luck alone can never support and sustain a health or wellness tourism supplier for the long term.  Business growth and sustainability requires planning, strategy, marketing, promotion, and skillful execution to make efficient use of new and existing resources, suppliers, and collaborating stakeholders to welcome medical travel visitors.

When a destination decides to develop its medical tourism sector, it needs more than excess capacity and cheap prices for surgery and medical services.

Health and wellness tourism destinations need solid foundations to build upon. The fundamental elements include high quality health services and tourism outlets, qualified physicians, nurses and technicians, and an attractive destination with a globally renowned reputation for health services excellence.

Healthcare and tourism stakeholders can launch a website, design a logo and buy conference stands, but that does not ensure success. Often they overlook product development and skip over the user experience and jump straight to sales mode.

"People don't buy what you do or what you sell; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe."

 -- Simon Sinek - "Start With Why"



medical tourism destinations of distinction

Mercury Healthcare International is the publisher of Medical Tourism Destinations of Distinction,  a quarterly digital serial publication that features 12 distinctive destinations per year, chosen by our editorial team.

Apply now to be considered as a candidate destination in Medical Tourism Destinations of Distinction.

Get the respect and recognition your destination deserves

Other medical tourism magazines sell advertising space and advertorials. Any destination with the means to advertise what they sell can buy space in those magazines. The cost is often in the range of USD $35,000-50,000. Is that what you are looking for? Just like any other magazine in the rack, the publishers are in the business to make money. If they can't sell advertising space to other advertisers, they sell the medical tourism providers a place to advertise.

Medical Tourism Destinations of Distinction has a slightly different strategy.

The 12 featured destinations chosen each year as "Medical Tourism Destinations of Distinction" are not charged to appear in the publication.  Featured Medical Tourism Destinations of Distinction are chosen on the basis of merit upon critical evaluation, inspection and determination by the editorial staff. Destinations are not guaranteed selection as a featured destination simply because they have been inspected. Once the candidate destinations have been selected and inspected by our editorial team, experienced freelance travel writers and editors are assigned to write the stories.

Limited space for advertisers is available to media buyers and advertisements and advertorials are clearly identified.

Medical, dental and wellness tourism visitors don't come hunting for healthcare bargains or to buy your excess inventory.

They seek to buy the best healthcare services the believe they can afford.

They seek advice and treatments from accessible healthcare providers they believe they can trust.

They choose a destination that that beckons to them and where they believe they will enjoy rich visitor experiences and where they expect to feel welcome - regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, affluence, language, culture, sexual orientation or health status.

Doctors & Dentists
Taxis and Livery Service
Education Institutions
Air Service
Guest Accommodations
Financial Institutions
Safety & Security

In addition to stakeholders and collaborators, medical tourism destination development requires planning, infrastructure, data management, consumer protection, and logistics coordination

Framework Regulation
Standards and Accreditation
Badging System
Logistics Software
Measurement & Evaluation
Destination Marketing
Travel Agents
Tour Operators / DMOs
MT Coordinators
Tourist Services
Wireless Internet
Shopping & Souvenirs
Cruise Ships

Once the destination begins to show a favorable investment environment and a stable government, foreign investors begin to evaluate the destination potential and bring new projects and jobs

Foreign Investment
Workforce Training
Clinical Trials
Media Attention
Formal Collaboration


Vetted collaboration partners help you develop and grow your health and wellness tourism market penetration

Health Tourism Cluster Software Platform

MICE & Medicine®  Program Development

Accreditation Survey Training & Preparation

Health Insurer & Group Health Fam Tour Coordination

Corporate Medical Travel Benefits Administration for employers, labor unions, and insurers

The only experts with decades of experience in every aspect of health tourism destination development

Mercury Healthcare International

Developing Medical Tourism Destinations Since 1983