The Philippines, an archipelagic nation located in Southeast Asia, wants to make its medical tourism more prosperous. This sector of tourism industry has been growing quite rapidly in the last years. Developing nations that can provide quality health care in state of the art facilities capitalize on the situation in the developed nations. There are unbearably long waiting lists in Canada or in the UK. Some 45% US citizens do not have any health insurance and the prices of health care in the developed nations continually rise. All these factors make destinations like Philippines more popular for medical tourists.
Former Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Bengzon claims that Philippines produce numerous medical professionals that are recognized worldwide. There is a number of modern hospitals in the country. Approximately 100,000 foreign patients travel to the archipelago for medical care every year. In Philippines, some treatments can cost as much as 90% less than in the developed countries. The most popular procedures for medical tourists are cosmetic and plastic surgery, dermatology, weight loss surgery, ophthalmology and dentistry. Because the country is a known tourism destination the medical tourists can enjoy their holiday here while they are recovering.
The officials want to expand the country’s medical tourism and therefore they are looking for possibilities to lure more investors to this particular field of the industry. There already exists a program that offers investment incentives and the government searches possibilities of its expansion. Nowadays, the incentives include the possibility to import medical equipment duty-free. An investor may be granted four years of income tax holiday on income solely derived from servicing foreign patients or they pay only 5 % tax on gross income.