Medical Services to Draw More Tourists to RP Despite Crisis

The Seoul Times | 2008-10-28

The influx of Americans and other tourists from various European countries is expected to continue despite the prevailing global economic crisis.

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said on Oct. 15 the country's medical tourism will bring in more foreign tourists at this time of financial crisis.

"With 50 million Americans with no healthcare and another 120 million underinsured, we are anticipating more tourists to come here," Durano said.

According to Durano, the healthcare crisis is not exclusive to the US as other places in Canada and Europe are having problems with the prolonged waiting time for patients who are in need of immediate attention.

Durano added that in the Middle East, there is insufficiency in the number of medical institutions that produce world-class healthcare professionals who will provide service to the region's growing medical care needs.

He also said more and more Americans are traveling out of their country to avail themselves of medical services that range from simple teeth whitening to more complicated procedures like hip surgery.

The tourism chief further explained the comparative costs of medical procedures, like a coronary bypass surgery with heart valve replacement costs $11,956 to $17,391 here, while in the US, it costs around $70,000 to $133,000.

"Our country is likewise an inexpensive destination, which amounts to huge savings for patients," Durano pointed out.

Another lucrative market in medical tourism is cosmetic surgery, with facelifts by top cosmetic surgeons in the Philippines costing $3,913 to $4,347, the lowest among Asian countries.

In the US, the same service is availed at $10,500 to $16,000.

Aside from low costs, Durano said another advantage of this country are the healthcare professionals who are known all over the world for their natural ability to nurture patients.

"With this innate caring attitude of Filipinos, we are presenting the country as the Tender Loving Care in the Heart of Asia," he said.

While undergoing medical treatment, foreigners can also enjoy a holiday vacation.

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