MANILA, Philippines – With Filipino hospitality and the presence of many skilled and compassionate health workers being some of the most remarkable things about the country, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is working to boost medical tourism in the Philippines.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the pandemic emphasized the importance of medical travel and wellness tourism, and expressed how promising the country is in that arena.
“We see so much untapped potential in the health and wellness industry. With world-class hospitals and facilities, skilled doctors and nurses, and the Filipino brand of hospitality, the Philippines is poised to become an attractive destination for medical tourism,” she said.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), to develop a medical tourism sub-sector, governments should take the following into consideration:
- Establishment of smart regulation and recognized certification of medical facilities
- Visa facilitation policies
- Financial incentives to attract investment into the tourism product
Puyat said the DOT is taking a “calibrated approach” to amp up the country’s medical tourism, beginning with the development of an internal ecosystem and network of facilities to accommodate concerns regarding the tourism product.
To serve as a testament to the Philippines’ world-class quality care, WTTC Summit delegate Juergen Steinmetz narrated his personal experience at the Makati Medical Center where he was treated for his left leg, which was diagnosed to be infested by a flesh-eating bacteria in April.
“It’s a secret to be revealed and in the making to come out and go viral. The Philippines will become the number one destination for medical tourism,” Steinmetz said in his article on eturbonews.com.
“All the ingredients are here. Excellent world-class doctors and facilities, nurses that keep the standard for high-quality care around the world, and a beautiful country, wonderful beaches, good food, and exciting cities,” he said while adding that despite its great quality, medical costs in the PH are considerably cheaper.
Director Paulo Benito Tugbang, who has served as the technical lead for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Secretariat, has been tasked to head DOT’s medical, health and wellness tourism program.
Among Tugbang’s other credentials are being a registered medical doctor, and a board topnotcher nurse and midwife.
In an article published by itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk in 2019, the Philippines ranked 19th in the world for the 2016-2017 global Medical Tourism Index (MTI).
The article included that according to an analysis by the Philippine-Swiss Business Council (PSBC), the Philippines’ medical tourism industry banks on its “wealth of internationally-trained and English-speaking physicians, state-of-the-art facilities, and unique brand of Filipino hospitality that are offered at a fraction of the cost compared to developed countries.”
The analysis also cited cosmetic and dental surgery among the most sought-after procedures by medical tourists in the PH.