Sociology Index

Medical Tourism In Philippines

Medical Tourism

Philippine Health Tourism Programme (PHTP) aims to target both the wellness/spa and medical tourist markets. Tourism Secretary Roberto Pagdanganan, said that health holidays are significantly growing outside Europe and in other parts of the world. “If the growth of health resorts in Asia, including the Philippines, is anything to go by, there would seem to be a huge potential to develop health tourism as a great come-on since health and wellness using traditional healing methods, such as massage, healing and herbs is very much part of the Asian culture.”

Under the Philippine Health Tourism Program (PHTP), DOT and its partner agencies such as the Department of Health–Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (DOH-PITAHC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are jointly offering cost-effective medical treatments combined with special itineraries that will showcase some of the best tourist attractions the country could offer.

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.

The DOT, Department of Health–Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care and DOE have already come up with rules and regulations for the accreditation of health establishments, wellness centers and hospitals in the country, using DOT’s standards for hotels as the benchmark. Currently, only St. Luke’s Medical Center remains the only hospital that has met these standards.

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. 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 DOT is also spearheading the establishment of the Spa Philippines Association (SPA), an organization to be composed of accredited firms and individuals who are directly or indirectly engaged in the spa business.

The SPA, which will be DOT’s ally in promoting the Philippines as a spa holiday destination in Asia, aims to uphold the standards and ethics of the Philippine spa industry and strive towards its professionalization, ensure the highest standards of services and facilities for clients, and develop a unique branding or image for the Philippine spa industry.

One of the most active participants in the DOT’s Philippine Health Tourism Program, The Farm at San Benito—Hippocrates Health Resort of Asia, a world-class alternative medical resort in Lipa City Batangas, holds healthful activities for the whole family.

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.