DOT, DOH to offer medical tourism

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 15 2013 08:45 AM | Updated as of Feb 15 2013 04:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Health (DoH) plan to come up with a program covering medical services the Philippines could offer to tourists as a way of encouraging more foreigners to visit the country, a cabinet official said.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said in a briefing it is working with the DOH to identify what medical services could be offered in the country.

“The DOT and DOH are working on a program for medical tourism,” he said.

“We are trying to see what areas or medicine services the Philippines can offer and where it can excel,” he said further.

Jimenez noted that based on studies, there is tremendous demand in the areas of orthodontics or dentistry, cancer and retirement.

Medical services are among the tourism products the Philippine government wants to promote to attract more foreign visitors to the country.

Tourism is being pushed by the government as it considered as one of the pillars of the country’s economic growth.

The tourism sector is also seen to generate employment for Filipinos.

The DOT wants to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the economy to 11 percent by 2016.

The DOT likewise wants the tourism sector’s share in the country’s total employment to rise to 18 percent by that year.

Foreign tourist arrivals to the country reached 4.273 million last year, 9.07 percent higher than in 2011.

By 2016, the DOT is aiming to attract 10 million foreign visitors to the country.