Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Launch of Colombia’s Second Free Trade Zone for Health

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Pasto, Colombia – The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism inaugurated the Free Trade Zone, “Hispano-American Clinic,” on Friday, in the capital of Nariño. This was a response to the commitments made to the regions, and it is in line with the health plan for tourism businesses, which was designed by the Productive Transformation Program (PTP) of the above mentioned ministry. The Hispano-American Clinic represents an investment of $21.6 billion pesos and the creation of over 400 jobs. The head of this portfolio, Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados, said that the clinic represents an investment of $21.6 billion, with projections for the creation of 160 direct jobs and 270 indirect ones. The clinic will provide “care to patients, both domestic and foreign, through specialized technical services in a world class facility.”This is part of an ongoing initiative of the Santos Administration, through the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism, to strengthen various zones and encourage activities related to world-class sectors. In this case, it has directly influenced the sector of Health Tourism. The clinic is among 12 such projects that are being proposed for the development of the health sector in Colombia. The first project was the St. Vincent Foundation in Rio Negro, Antioquia, in 2011. This was the first Special Health Services Zone in Colombia. This institution has become an example of how to diversify supply, encourage job creation, and promote the use of new technology, in a sustainable manner.” The will of the government is clear about its goal of promoting economic development and specialized skills in the regions. These zones, specifically in the case of health, are proof of this. And, they will continue to promote job creation across the country,” said the Minister. The PTP, through its Health Tourism Management, has provided support throughout the process, so that these spaces can enjoy tax benefits and other privileges. Moreover, since 2012, a strategy has been advanced to link health service providers, such as the Hispano-American Clinic, as well as other tourism operators, in order to promote various possibilities for new domestic and international customers that visit Pasto. The services to be offered to the region include catheterization procedures, cardiovascular surgery, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, dentistry, and neurosurgery, among others. According to Juan Carlos Garavito, PTP Manager, the strategy for the health zones is to strengthen the export supply of the health tourism sector, while benefiting the regions with job creation and world-class services. The PTP will continue to promote health and wellness tourism in Colombia, so that by 2015, it will be the top destination on the continent for this activity.

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