ALMOST THREE MILLION TOURISTS visiting Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines last year, says statistical reports ( www.researchandmarkets.com ) : some two hundred thousand of them visiting the Philippines in 2006 --- as Manila struggles and keeps up behind said countries as 5th placing newcomer-player in the medical tourism ballgame.
But hope springs eternal.
This early , Gloria Arroyo’s Philippine government is strongly stressing the importance of developing this sector as it is perceived as a “strategic tourism niche” for the years to come , and the Tourism Department gears up , zeroing in on cosmetic surgery as the perfect pitch to surface in the global market , “now that it has jumped enthusiastically on board the medical tourism bandwagon.”
At our successful Manila Futurists Society-organized and sponsored event production at the Ateneo De Manila University’s Leong Hall Auditorium last July 25th, close to a hundred young Ateneans trooped to the venue, and checked out what MFS’ “medical tourism talk “ is all about.
Special guest speaker for the event is Dr. Rolando Cabatu, with sterling credentials: Diplomate from the Philippine Board of Surgery; Fellow, Philippine College of Surgeons ; Fellow, Philippine Society of General Surgeons ; Fellow, Philippine Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons; Ancillary Services Director from the University of Sto. Tomas,
Cabatu says: more than 200,000 tourists visiting the country in the past years have fueled the economy with an influx of dollars, considering 10 million OFWs also “acting as sales representative” in their respective work destinations to promote the country’s medical services --- which would translate to a minimum of 10 million “recruited-tourists” who can possibly visit Manila as patient availing of local medical services at a small fraction of the price as compared to prices in Western countries.
Medical tourism industry analysts’ observations:
And this early, the Philippines targets its future capture of a whopping US$2 billion revenue share in the Asian medical tourism market from the predicted scenario of the industry , expected to shoot up to being US$92-billion global market by 2012. “And countries such as
And the figures speak for themselves.
Check out the numbers: according to TravelWeeklyWeb.com ,
Price Waterhouse Coopers study says : seven percent of the world population in 2007, or 42 million people, were at least 65 years old and the figure was expected to double by 2015. That’s great clientele base for medical tourism.
Meantime, analysts reveal that Japan’s aging market --- with its population dominated by the elderly --- is touted as the largest client base for the global medical tourism market --- and the main focus that Asian destinations like the Philippines can get its hands on --- to make sure it meets its US$2 billion target share of the Asian industry’s revenues.
Recent studies by the Philippine Institute For Development studies show that as per
Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare estimates , the elderly needing nursing care will be over 2 million, set to increase to 4 million in year 2010 , and will increase more to as high as 5.2 million in year 2025.
More statistical figures and facts :
· As of Oct 2001, there are 10,137 Japanese officially residing in RP making it the 8th most popular destination in Asia next to
· Japan, ranked as the second largest tourism market (next to US), has contributed roughly US$270 million in direct revenues to the Philippine tourism industry.
· But RP has so far captured only 1.8% of the 20 million Japanese travelers
in the Asia-Pacific region.
· An average Japanese retiree spends at least US$2,400 annually in medical care ,With 20 million aging retirees having their regular medical check-ups or treatment, that translates to at least US$48 Billion. And the amount is even expected to go up.
· Great numbers for the Philippine medical tourism industry --- but RP ranks only 8th as popular retirement destination for Jap tourists ( in October 2001 study).
· In 2003, 1.9 million foreigners visited the
When the Arroyo government apparently got giddy with the astounding figures and is all poised to pursue the public sector-cum-private sector initiative with the Health Department, Tourism Department and private medical hospitals , facilities and practitioners , not a few wanted to join the burgeoning bandwagon for big bucks. Arroyo’s statement: “Cost is competitive and quality is high. Filipino professionals can serve the world right here at home, as we provide more jobs downstream and cut down poverty”
As industry experts see a strong Asian medical tourism market down the line, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.6% between 2007 and 2012 (www.researchandmarkets.com), the Philippines can work on improving its facilities for bigger bucks in medical tourism where it is said to be “gaining a firm foothold”, as per Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.
The reports contend: The Philippines is known for its quality nurses and other health workers who have dominated the medical profession in such developed countries as the
“Philippine medical facilities may, at this stage, still be building a reputation for service excellence, but they’ve put into place several mechanisms to cater to visiting patients.
Researchandmarkets.com’s figures: “Philippine medical tourism only started three years ago, in October 2005, but has already met sizable success. The overall income related to medical tourism was topping the 200 million USD threshold for the first year of operation.”
“Realizing the revenue potential of medical tourism, the
So who’s sorry now? Do we hear sour-graping??
From NaturalNews.com, writer Mike Adams reveals that yes, this 21st century phenomenon called medical tourism --- also called medical travel or health tourism ( “a term coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling to another country to obtain healthcare”) may be good news for Asia. But it’s bad news for the
Mike Adams: “ Asian medical tourism is bad news for the
People will go overseas to get better medical care or a better value on surgical procedures, and the popularity of medical tourism is proving that.
“If healthcare becomes so expensive in the Western World, and that it's by far cheaper to buy an international plane ticket and get some medical procedure done overseas, then more and more people are going to take that option and go overseas. And as medical tourism becomes more popular, I think we're going to see the American Medical Association, hospital associations and maybe even the FDA up in arms, complaining about the loss of revenues for
“So in addition to exporting so many jobs from the IT industry, we will actually be exporting healthcare revenues to countries around the world. And these are substantial revenues; we're talking about billions of dollars at stake. Medical tourism is good news for
The cost savings are incredible: a knee replacement surgery in an Asian high-tech hospital may only cost you $6,000 while it could cost $50,000 in the
Heart bypass surgery in
6-8 times more in the
“Medical tourism hospitals in the
One downside of medical tourism: the World Health Organization (WHO) recently ranked the
Asia Times Online reports that the website www.liver4you.org advertises liver transplants for $130,000, but a foreign patient can expect to spend between $70,000 to $115,000 for a kidney transplant in one of 20 government-accredit ed medical facilities in the
And as RP medical tourism booms , so does the influx of deep-pocketed foreigners who seek organ transplants, most commonly kidneys --- about 200,000 health tourists visited the Philippines in 2006,
according to official statistics.
Based on the Philippine Renal Disease Registry , kidney transplants in the
Meantime, Dr. Cabatu says
Wikipedia’s statistical data:
“According to the Kasikorn Research Centre, 2005 alone attracted an unprecedented 1.28 million foreign medical travelers which generated revenue of 33 billion Baht. That means therefore, that on average each patient spent 25,800 Baht for their treatments. It was revealed in an article in Newsweek in 2006 that 400,000 foreign patients were treated at just Bumrungrad hospital in