Health tourism clusters are being  aggressively promoted as means to build health tourism and medical sector businesses to, and in destinations; have they lost their luster? Elizabeth Ziemba and I are attending the Health Cluster Portugal conference this week in Braga, Portugal, which is focused on pharma and life sciences.

If you’re attending, we look forward to saying, “Hello!”


Health Cluster Answers

Does your health cluster pass muster?

Cluster development requires disciplined focus, innovation and long-term perspective. Unlike traditional business development methods which see markets as “zero-sum”, where the more market share one competitor earns is equal to what others lose, clusters are a way to expand this model so that innovation adds to an overall,  expanding market. Not just so many slices of cake, but a whole party!


Porters’ Health Cluster Model


Elizabeth and I recently presented a full-day workshop on cluster development in Zagreb, Croatia. If you would like to learn more:

There are too many clusters which have lost their luster.


There are examples of successful, competitive health tourism clusters, and there are common errors to avoid! Destination management organizations, tourism boards and regional providers would benefit from learning the organizational principles of collaboration and competition.

The concept of health and medical tourism clusters has been used to help organize cities and regions to become more competitive in the global markets for health & medical tourism. For the most part, clusters have lost their luster; they have not accomplished the goal. Part of this is due to misunderstandings about clusters themselves. The term “cluster” has also been used as a marketing label applied to packages of provider services that were not competitive or feasible.

Successful clusters are characterized by concentrations of specialized providers and suppliers within a certain location. Clusters are not cooperative marketing initiatives, although providers within a cluster may cooperate in several ways.

Medical tourism clusters have been aggressively promoted as the best way to build medical tourism business. But there are many clusters which have lost their luster.