On Monday, a Florida Senate panel OK’d the idea of putting money toward marketing the state as a medical tourism destination. The senator pushing the bill says advertising high-quality medical care could help Gov. Rick Scott meet his goal of attracting 100 million visitors in a year.
Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) proposes setting aside $5 million dollars per year for marketing healthcare destinations. The money, to be administered through tourism promotion agency VISIT Florida, would depend on matching funds from local development councils or chambers of commerce. Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Vice President Rolando Aedo says his group would be “ecstatic” to participate in such a partnership.
“As you look at the western hemisphere and South America and the Caribbean, we are very culturally in tune with those communities, so it does make it very easy and very comfortable for those families that do have to undergo medical procedures to come to Miami," he says.
Aedo says medical tourism has long been part of Miami’s DNA—a message already being broadcast in promotional materials. He says the chance to double the marketing investment with state funding is exciting.