Nelly Favis Villafuerte ,
Manilla Bulletin |
MANILA, Philippines – The medical tourism industry is now fast becoming a global multi-billion dollar industry. More and more countries are looking at medical tourism as an opportunity to promote both their medical services and their tourism industry in just one package deal.
What is medical tourism? Medical tourism is simply a service rendered by private hospitals in other countries consisting of affordable and quality healthcare facilities. It’s a unique combination of health and tourism services. This concept of medical tourism is not new. The first recorded case of medical tourism actually dates back thousands of years ago when Greek pilgrims traveled from all over the Mediterranean to a place called Epidauria in the Saronic Gulf, the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios. Later, spas and sanitariums came about. In our country, we have people from all walks of life trooping to our famous hot springs in Calamba hoping for cures and relief of body ailments like arthritis.
Today, the concept of medical tourism has metamorphosed from the simple spas and hot springs to the more wide-ranging sophisticated and hi-tech medical services reaching global proportions. Today, medical tourism is a flourishing business. More and more countries are now getting interested in it. In so doing, countries are actually promoting not only their medical competence but also their tourism industry.