The educational and medical sectors of the tourism industry experienced robust growth last year, generating nearly P200 million in revenues for 2008.
The English as Secondary Language (ESL) program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) earned almost P100 million, with most foreigners enrolling in schools in Bacolod and Baguio City. The two destinations contributed earnings of P62.6 million (or 34 percent) and P29 million, respectively.
The DOT said Bacolod City, the most preferred location for the program, had 1,087 foreign student-visitors.
Koreans represented the highest turnout of foreign students, with 2,873 of them enrolled in the program. The DOT credited the continued participation and visibility of partner schools in major educational tourism fairs in Korea and other source markets for the success of the ESL program.
Under the ESL program, participants attend the course from 20 to 100 days. The DOT said peak registration months were May, August, and December.
Meanwhile, the DOT said the medical tourism industry generated P108.8 million in revenues last year, attracting more foreign patients to visit world-class hospitals in the country.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said 1,071 foreign patients sought medical services in the Philippines last year, with the average gross receipt per foreign patient estimated at P101,582.
"Majority of the 885 tourist-patients came from Guam, Palau and Saipan. Other markets were Japan, Korea, and the USA," DOT said in a statement.
To encourage the growth of the medical tourism industry, Durano said the DOT together with health care facilities in the country participated in major medical tourism fairs in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
"Participation in these fairs showcased the Philippines’ leading edge in the field of medical and aesthetic services while promoting various tourist destinations where patients may relax and recuperate," Durano said.