Doctors prepare for a robotic back surgery. Courtesy Mazor Robotics

San Diego business and community leaders are promoting the region as a travel destination for people seeking the best in health and wellness.

The newly formed DestinationCare San Diego organization will market the region’s cluster of health, wellness and life sciences strengths to patients, families and providers outside of San Diego.

The intent is to tap the $100 billion “medical tourism” market, which is growing by as much as 25 percent annually.

“We have some of the finest healthcare institutions and cutting-edge research happening right here in San Diego,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “We also have some of the best weather and attractions in America for folks to relax and recuperate.”

“With DestinationCare, we want to make San Diego a premiere destination for people seeking better health care options,” he added.

The initiative will use Internet marketing to promote the UC San Diego Health System, Scripps Health, Sharp Healthcare and Rady Children’s Hospital, among other nationally ranked health providers.

Healthcare represents one of the San Diego region’s four largest economic engines, according to a 2014 study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

“It exceeds the military in share of direct employment, and exceeds tourism in both share of direct gross regional prodcut and share of direct wages,” noted Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. “Our region has much to gain from aggressively marketing the quantity and quality of our entire health and wellness ecosystem.”

The effort was announced Monday at the first ever first-ever Worth Health Summit at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. The new organization’s board is chaired by community leader Malin Burnham.

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