Creation of medical tourism council eyed

Published by rudy Date posted on February 21, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Beverly Hills 6750, which caters to the high end market for aesthetics and beauty market, has called for the creation of a cabinet level medical tourism council to address various issues affecting the industry and for the country to fulfill its vision to become a medical tourism destination and get a bigger pie of the $3 billion global medical tourism business.

Dr. Eduardo A. Santos, president and managing director of Beverly Hills 6750, said the council should be able to address several issues affecting the industry and for the government and the private sector to have a coherent approach in promoting this industry.

“A cabinet-level medical tourism can address all concerns if we really want to become a player in this market,” Santos said.

Aside from the issue of infrastructure like airports and security of tourists, Santos said there has been a proliferation of ‘fly-by-night’ aesthetic clinics in the metropolis.

He said that some regulations must be put in place to ensure that only licensed medical professionals are undertaking aesthetics services.

At present, the Department of Health is the agency in charge of accrediting surgical facilities. The Department of Tourism also accredits these facilities to ensure the safety of tourists. “I have to say that the government has to play a more active role in creating success in medical tourism because the Philippines is negatively perceived 42 percent most of the time in Asia compared to Thailand, India and Malaysia,” Santos said.

“We all want to have a share of the huge medical tourism pie but, ‘unfortunately, there is no unified initiative of the government,” he said.

The DoT is doing the marketing but it is sporadic and rare, he added.

“We need sustained efforts to bring in medical tourists,” he said.

Beverly Hills, which caters to the A & B market, is posting a robust 20 percent annual growth and is opening its first branch in Timog, Quezon City in March with a project cost of P30 million.

Company medical director Bernabe R. Marinduque said the company is also set to open another branch in the south within the year.

Marinduque said they have been invited to put up branches in the key cities including Cebu, but they found out that Cebuanos would rather come to Manila for aesthetic procedures.

CEO Suzette Hahn-Lopez also said the company has a robust growth at 20 percent annually and is gaining as much as 20 percent market share since it started operating in 2006. –Manila Bulletin

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