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A Small Border Town Thrives on Dental Tourism

New America Media, Video, Cliff Parker & Carlos Cota Estvez Posted: Mar 12, 2009

On a good day, Los Algodones, a Mexican border town in Baja California, receives some 10,000 visitors. It is home to 250 dental offices and a growing number of pharmacies, optometrist offices, hotels and restaurants.

This border town that was once home to 48 bars has now become a destination for Americans and Mexicans in search of affordable dental and health care services. The town is doing so well that the Native American Quechan tribe has just opened a casino and hotel a few meters from the federal inspection station.

According to Los Algodones Municipal Delegate, Hector Guzman, the crisis in the American health care system under the Bush administration led to unprecedented growth in the Mexican border town between 2003 and 2007. Now the town is also facing the consequences of the U.S. economic crisis: Locals say the town received the fewest visitors in 2008. Many believe, however, that sooner or later the number of visitors will increase again because their neighbors to the north will need medical and dental services again, and this is the best time to save money.

A Small Border Town Thrives on Dental Tourism from New America Media on Vimeo.

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