HealthCare Business News spoke to Roberto Vergara Restrepo, director of international business at Corferias, to find out what healthcare industry stakeholders can expect from the upcoming MEDITECH International Health Fair taking place in Bogota, Colombia from July 12-15, 2022.
HCB News: For people who are unfamiliar, can you give us a brief summary of what MEDITECH is all about, and its origins?
Roberto Vergara Restrepo:
MEDITECH, the international specialized health trade fair is organized every two years by Corferias, the Colombian Association of Hospitals and Clinics and Messe Düsseldorf North America. It is the HUB for the life sciences and healthcare industries in Latin America, attracting qualified audience with decision-making authority.
MEDITECH features suppliers of medical and hospital equipment and services, and this year will be held from July 12 to 15 at the Corferias venue in Bogota, Colombia. The event has grown as a result of the demand from Colombian clinics and hospitals to find suppliers offering high technology equipment to meet their needs.
In the beginning, the Colombian Hospitals and Clinics Association (ACHC), which is currently our supporter in the organization of the conference held during the show, started with the International Congress of Hospitals and Clinics together with a small exhibition held at a hotel in Bogota. Due to the characteristics of the market, the exhibition area began to increase and the conference attracted managers of the most important hospitals and clinics in the country.
In 2018, MEDITECH became a member of the MEDICAlliance, the global medical trade fair network of Messe Düsseldorf in Germany, one of the leading trade fair organizers worldwide. This year marks MEDITECH’s seventh edition, and it will be the first one together with Messe Düsseldorf as a partner.
HCB News: What kind of medical industry stakeholders should make sure to exhibit at MEDITECH 2022?
It is important to mention that Colombia imports more than 80% of its healthcare products due to low local production and with its market characteristics offers a great opportunity for international companies to enter this market by participating in MEDITECH.
MEDITECH brings together all the stakeholders in the healthcare supply chain, showcasing the products and services required by the hospitals and clinics. Among the most representative categories are medical, surgical, orthopedic, rehabilitation and physiotherapy equipment, building technology and services, hospital furniture, clinical chemistry, medical laboratory equipment and supplies, as well as software & IT, waste management, clean technologies and services related to the industry. Universities, hospital management consulting, specialized publications and pharmaceutical laboratories are also among the exhibiting industry stakeholders.
HCB News: For first time exhibitors, what advice would you offer to make sure they make the most of their time?
As with any trade fair, it is crucial for exhibitors to plan their participation as far in advance as possible and also let the trade fair organization know which kind of customers they would like to see at the event and which products they are going to exhibit in order to bring qualified visitors.
Also, since CORFERIAS has been designated a Special Permanent Duty-Free Zone, it allows the for the temporary importation and display of equipment at the show without being subject to duties and customs. It is therefore important that exhibitors plan far in advance what equipment to exhibit in order to ensure smooth handling of inbound and outbound shipments.
Some additional tips would be:
• Get to know the market and possible distribution and sales channels for your product or service beforehand as well as the main competitors and possible distributors and buyers.
• Have a professional exhibit stand that highlights the benefits of the products and services you offer. Remember that giving visitors a more memorable experience ensures a bigger impact at international trade shows.
• Be aware of language barriers. Spanish is the native language in Colombia, but visitors have a high level of education and most of them speak English. Having material at the booth in both English and Spanish is critical, also having sales representatives who speak Spanish or a translator is a very good idea.
• Invite possible clients in advance to your booth. They might plan to come to your booth, but knowing the time of the meeting will allow you to prepare better.
• Take full advantage of all the activities that the show offers to make the most of your participation.
HCB News: Why is Bogotá the right place to hold MEDITECH?
The Bogota region is Colombia’s main healthcare hub, host to 20% of Colombia’s healthcare system services and providers, representing the largest hospital capacity of the country with over 15,000 beds. Over 50% of the national healthcare services are provided in the capital of Colombia. MEDITECH 2022 will be an ideal platform for international companies to enter this lucrative market.
In addition, according to “Invest in Bogota”, over 46 million people have healthcare insurance in Colombia, representing 97% of the population. It is estimated that this number will continue to grow in the upcoming years due to the commitment of the National Government. Additionally, this sector has special relevance in the 2018-2022 National Development Plan, where healthcare investment represents 14.4% of the national budget with $ 50.7 billion. The country´s healthcare system is ranked #1 in Latin America and #22 worldwide according to the World Healthcare Organization.
HCB News: What will the program at MEDITECH 2022 consist of this year? Are there any particular highlights?
The exhibits of the latest innovations are complemented by the XIV International Congress of Hospitals and Clinics, the second edition of the High Technology Experience Center and the continuation of a very successful Hospitals and Clinics Zone in addition to different networking zones. MEDITECH’s visitor target group are general managers, directors and purchasing managers of the hospitals and clinics in the country in addition to health professionals and international buyers from the region.
HCB News: What kind of subjects will exhibitors and visitors be talking about at this year's trade fair?
The resilience of the industry and the contribution of the sector to overcome the pandemic. The sector will be highlighted as a fundamental part of not only the economy, but of humanity. MEDITECH is the platform where the stakeholders will be able to meet again and continue celebrating life - you can't miss it!