Sociology Index

Medical Tourism In Philippines

Philippine Medical Tourism Programme aims to target both the wellness/spa and medical tourist markets. The Programme mission is to ensure that the Philippines is globally competitive through implementation of quality standards in both public and private sector. The Department of Tourism hopes to relaunch the Philippines as a wellness and medical destination for 2019. The Department of Tourism is working with the Department of Health for the Philippine Medical Tourism Programme to promote Philippines’ medical tourism. The Department of Tourism has launched a six-month medical visa as part of the plan to improve the country’s medical tourism. The medical visa will be issued to tourists whose main purpose for travel to the Philippines is to seek medical treatment.

The Philippines made it to the list of medical tourist destinations compiled by the International Healthcare Research Center and Medical Tourism Association, peaking at number eight back in 2015. The country is on par with the advanced countries of the world in terms of health and wellness services while offering cutting-edge facilities at the same time.

The Philippines caters 80,000 to 250,000 patients annually, with clients coming from East Asia, Sri Lanka, the Pacific Islands, Australia, North, and South America, Europe, and the UK, and the Gulf States. The healthcare providers are also fluent in English, which is also an added asset.

Now underway are a Medical Tourism Forum and modules for the implementation of a “Mabuhay Host Training Program” for healthcare frontliners of accredited hospitals, all to strengthen the country’s readiness as a health vacation destination.

The new program will be offered to tourists whose main purpose for visiting the Philippines is to undergo “minimally invasive medical procedures and treatments.” Specially-designed tours integrated with the medical programs by accredited hospitals and healthcare establishments will then be offered to suit the needs of these identified market segment. 

Philippines is one of the few countries in Asia to offer such specialized medical or health tour offerings, with only Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and India as competitors. Hospitals such as the Asian Hospital in Alabang, Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City and Medical City in Mandaluyong City are gearing up to offer world class facilities. Surgeons in the Philippines, routinely perform kidney transplants and complicated cardiac procedures. The country’s bid was also reinforced during the state visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Bahrain last December when the Bahraini government expressed interest to send medical tourists to the Philippines.

Called “Family Week at the Farm,” this series of activities is part of the health resort’s commitment to the DOT to help in promoting the country as a health vacation destination in Asia. Activities which a family will surely enjoy include kite flying, arts and crafts, massage lessons for kids, face painting, yoga, conscious walking exercise, swimming, seed planting, healthy food preparation, etc. The Farm includes a fully integrated medical facility specializing in alternative preventive health and natural healing.

Medical tourism in emerging markets: The role of trust, networks, and word-of-mouth
Akmal S. Hyder, Michelle Rydback, Erik Borg, Aihie Osarenkhoe. Published online: 18 Jun 2019.
ABTRACT: Despite the growing popularity of medical tourism in emerging markets, little is known about how healthcare providers operationalize. This article analyzes how healthcare providers meet different challenges to market medical tourism in an emerging markets setting. A qualitative method was used for data collection and conducting case studies on healthcare services in the Philippines. The results show that trust and network building are necessary for mitigating the unfavorable characteristics, instability and lack of legitimacy caused by institutional constraints in emerging markets. Word-of-mouth is found to be important to attract new customers and disseminate information about medical tourism services.