1,000 foreign patients visit RP in 2008

More than 1,000 foreign patients visited medical tourism facilities in the Philippines last year, according to the Tourism Department.

In a statement, the department said 1,071 foreign patients sought medical services in the country in 2008.

It was estimated that the medical tourism facilities accredited by the Tourism Department earned P108.8 million in revenues from those visits, with the average gross receipt per patient at P101,582.

"Majority of the 885 tourist-patients came from Guam, Palau and Saipan. Other markets were Japan, Korea, and the USA," the department said.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said that in order to further drive the growth of the medical tourism industry, the department and medical facilities in the country participated in major medical tourism fairs in the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

"Participation in these fairs showcased the Philippines’ leading edge in the field of medical and aesthetic services while promoting various tourist destinations where patients may relax and recuperate," he said.

Meanwhile, the department's English as Secondary Language program generated close to P200 million in revenues, with Bacolod and Baguio as among the top destinations.

In particular, schools in Bacolod City earned P62.6 million or 34 percent of the total while educational institutions in Baguio earned P29 million.

The department said its partner schools continued participation and visibility in major educational tourism fairs in Korea and other source markets, resulting in the robust growth of the educational sector of the tourism industry.

About 2,873 Koreans are currently enrolled in the program, representing the highest turnout of foreign students. Bacolod City is the most preferred location with 1,087 foreign student-visitors.

Participants in the program attend the course for 20 days extending up to a maximum of 100 days. May, August and December were the peak registration period.


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