According to the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) and the International Healthcare Research Center, the Philippines as a medical tourism destination, ranked eighth among the top in the world. A recent article in the SunStar, CEBU reported that indeed the Philippines is continually improving its health service offerings in order to climb to the top.
Philippines as a Medical Tourism Destination
SunStar CEBU reports that the Philippines is seeing 80,000 to 250,000 medical tourists annually. Patients come from Sri Lanka, East Asia, the Gulf States, Europe, North and South America, the Pacific Islands, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Filipino workers and expatriates also travel back home to the Philippines to have their medical procedures.
According to Cynthia C. Lazo, Director for Medical and Wellness Tourism, who directed comments on the Embassy Tour while at the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (WMTC), “The Philippines has the advantage that many healthcare providers speak English, as well as the ability to provide modern medical facilities, quality infrastructure, proximity to most of Asia’s major cities, and the ability of a caring local community to help in total healing in mind, body and spirit.”
While at the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington, the Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto Chargé d’Affaires, Ad interim of the Philippines Embassy commented, “The Philippines is globally positioning itself as the heart of Asia, combining modern technology with Philippine culture and tradition, highlighting the warmth of the Filipino people.”
In addition to the natural and well-established medical tourism offerings, the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) 7 medical tourism team is working with Cebu Health and Wellness Councilto put together medical tourism packages, using global medical tourism facilitators. Director at DOT 7, Rowena Montecillo said “Several groups have visited Cebu to conduct ocular inspection of medical facilities, accommodation establishments and tourist attractions.”
The Department of Tourism and St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Philippines made the additional investment for the future of medical tourism by serving as Gold Sponsors of the WMTC. St. Luke’s Medical Centeris not the only health care providers interested in attracting medical tourists.
With the increase of medical travelers going to Cebu for beauty or wellness procedures and Cebu’s expanding middle class, celebrity doctors, Manny and Pie Calayan, opened their first clinic outside of Manila, in SM Seaside City Cebu. Pie Calayan said that many clients travel to their clinic in Manila from Cebu, so opening a branch in Cebu was a wise business decision.
The locals mostly engage in simple facial services, but the foreigners come for more invasive procedures such as liposuction, face lifts and tummy tucks.
The presence that the Philippines has had at the WMTC over the years and their efforts to improve tourism and healthcare infrastructure, highlight interest in continued expansion to raise to the top Philippines as a medical tourism destination.