Philippines DOT endorses medical tourism as strategic growth segment

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The Department of Tourism in the Philippines collaborates with key industry stakeholders to bolster medical tourism, targeting aesthetics, aging, and wellness sectors. The initiative aims to reposition the nation within the global market, capitalizing on a CAGR of 32.51%.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Tourism (DOT) reaffirms its support for the Marcos Administration’s goal to boost the medical tourism industry in the country by collaborating with industry stakeholders in aesthetics, ageing, and wellness. This, according to Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, emphasises that it is seen as a potential “strong growth centre” for the Philippines.

The tourism chief made the statement during the opening ceremony of the 11th Philippine Academy of Aesthetic and Age Management Medicine Inc. (PAAAMI) convention, at Shangri-La The Fort in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, where she was invited as guest of honour.

Citing global data, the tourism chief said that in 2022, medical tourism’s market size was around USD 115 billion, noting that the industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.51 per cent from 2022 to 2023.

We, at the Department of Tourism, are committed to supporting medical tourism with the help of our stakeholders in nurturing a healthy environment for our healthcare professionals and a welcoming environment for medical tourism clients,” she added, noting that under the Marcos administration, the intention is to ensure that the country’s competitiveness must elevate to position the Philippines as one of the preferred tourism destinations as far as medical aesthetics and wellness is concerned.

As we move forward from the pandemic, we are conscious of the necessity of focusing on health and wellness and providing globally competitive healthcare. We have identified important cornerstones that would ensure that the industry flourishes under this administration. This includes a robust multi-sectoral industry roadmap, strong policy backbone, a holistic product to be offered by the country, a distinct brand that is based on the Filipino brand of care,” she added.

At present, the Philippines occupies the 24th spot of the 46 medical tourism destinations globally. However, the tourism chief emphasized that the country “deserves a much higher place in the world”, citing the country’s quality and expertise of healthcare professionals, with a distinct Filipino brand of care that is renowned all over the world as its core.

Under the approved National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), medical tourism has also been identified by the DOT as a priority in pursuit of diversifying its tourism portfolio, where the tourism chief has earlier underscored the potential of medical tourism in ensuring the growth of the Philippine tourism industry.

This growing demand for healthcare travel is driven of course by different trends, including better quality and competitive rates for medical services, short waiting lists, availability of new technology and health services in destination countries, and affordable and convenient connectivity. With the growing expectations in the healthcare travel industry, it is only right that the government and the private sector collaborate to ensure that we can respond to these trends,” she said.

In May this year, the DOT and Dubai-based Agora group, the “pioneer and leader in providing business solutions and productivity in the health and wellness tourism”, also inked a formal partnership for the prestigious and high-level gathering of tourism stakeholders and medical professionals at the First International Health and Wellness Tourism Congress (IHWTC) which was held in June in Dusseldorf, Germany.