Editorial | Challenges of medical tourism

THE CITY Tourism and and Operations Office has again broached the idea of pursuing medical tourism to generate revenues for the local coffers. This is not new, of course, considering that medical tourism has been a buzzword for well over 10 years now and Thailand and Malaysia have profited handsomely for being among the firsts in Southeast Asia to harness its potential.But medical tourism is not just about making sure you have world-class hospitals and facilities to absorb the arriving visitors. You need to build a brand first. To do this, we need to engage the travel and the tourism sector, which is not as enthusiastic about medical tourism because it’s considered as a niche market that will bring very little returns.

Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur have already the advantage of establishing their reputation in North America and Europe as a destination for cheap and quality medical procedures. Davao City needs to carves its niche to attract

Also, we need to harmonize the vastly different indicators between the health and the tourism sectors in order to accurately gauge the success.

Medical tourism is estimated to be a $100 billion industry but it’s a competitive market. The Department of Tourism already attempted to join the bandwagon with very little show for it. The travel agents and tour operators need to see that it’s going to be profitable for them before they come on board.

We need to study the experiences of the countries with successful medical tourism programs, and even those that failed. Even today, there’s very little study on the market to determine what the medical tourists really need.

Our advantage is that we are not going to reinvent the wheel so we can pick and choose the best practices and maximize the experience for the medical tourists.3CARTOON


Posted in Opinion