Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu as medtourism hub still needs a lot of work

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Despite intensified efforts to promote Cebu as an alternative medical tourism destination for foreign nationals, a lot of ‘homework’ still needs to be done for the industry to fully take off.

This is the latest assessment made by Colliers Philippines International on the development of Cebu’s bid of becoming a medical tourism destination following the footsteps of Thailand.

While Cebu has yet to take off in attracting foreign medical tourists, it however succeeded in drawing local medical tourists, like patients from neighboring islands coming to Cebu to avail of medical check-up or treatments.

Colliers mentioned the establishment of Maayo Medical Clinic and the Maayo Hotel as one of the medical tourism magnets of Cebu even for foreign medical tourists.

However, what’s keeping it less attractive for foreign medical tourists is its lack of air access, and ability of hospitals to accommodate payments from international HMOs (health maintenance organizations).

For now, Cebu has been very effective as a domestic medical tourism destination, but to attractive foreigners seeking for medical attention, more work still needs to be done.

In a separate interview with Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (CanCham) president Julian Payne, he urged medical service providers in Cebu, including wellness clinics, to improve their partnership with Canadian insurance institutions.

Cebu in particular, Payne said is gaining popularity among Canadians seeking for light medical attention, including cosmetic procedures, dental care, among others, because of its urban resort setting.

However, improvement in the insurance accreditation should be worked out by players, as this is one of the reasons why Canadian nationals prefer other destinations for medical tourism related services, Payne said.

Still, the Philippines, including Cebu is continuously attracting medical tourists from Canada specifically those who want to avail of procedures that are not usually covered by Canadian government insurance such as cosmetic surgery. (FREEMAN)

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