The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) has recently joined forces with Dubai-based Agora Group, a global leader in the medical and wellness industry, to position the country as an emerging medical and wellness tourism destination in Asia.
Both will also partner for the first International Health and Wellness Tourism Congress (IHWTC) 2023, which will be held from June 8 to 9 in Dusseldorf, Germany. This two-day event is a high-level closed-door gathering of invitation-only tourism stakeholders mostly from the medical and wellness industry.
Tourism secretary Christina Garcia Frasco commented that the partnership will help strengthen the Philippines’ position as a health and wellness tourism hub in Asia, as well as globally. She also emphasised how special the Philippine medical healthcare workers are, primarily the Filipino diaspora.
“We are giving the Philippines a fighting chance at becoming a tourism powerhouse in Asia. We recognise that medical tourism and wellness tourism hold one of the keys to this endeavour, because we have the people, we have the facilities, and we are adjusting government policies to ensure that the climate for medical tourism to thrive will ensue,” she said.
Competing with other countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar with prime healthcare facilities, Frasco acknowledged that while those countries already have the “wealth of medical facilities”, however, “the culture of care and compassion shown by Filipinos who are in these facilities give us the strategic advantage that people from the Middle East are already familiar with the level of care that Filipinos can give”.
In addition, 23 of the country’s health facilities are internationally accredited and recognised by the International Society for Quality in Health Care, and there are 63 private hospitals in close proximity to four international airports.
The DOT is targeting to train 100,000 tourism front-liners this year under its Filipino Brand of Service Excellence programme, and with the IHWTC 2023 later this year, this would open massive opportunities for the country’s health and wellness offerings and to market the Philippines, especially from the most coveted Middle East tourist market.