By CHRISTIAN WAKEFIELD, Reporter
DELEGATES of the recently concluded 4th World Health Tourism Congress (WHTC) in Manila have expressed surprise at the different offerings of Cebu in terms of medical and wellness tourism, which they describe as at par with other countries.
During their site tour of the different resorts, hotels, and hospitals in Cebu, the delegates, who came from the different parts of the world, claimed the province is one of the best medical tourism destination in the world with its advance medical facilities, friendly people, and world-class tourism-related amenities.
Angel Ramos Bognot, chairman of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas), one of the lead organizers of the WHTC, said the delegates did not expect the province to have a very advance medical facilities capable of performing major medical and surgical operations.
“They didn’t know about the potential of Cebu in terms of
medical tourism until they came here and found out for themselves,” said Bognot, who stressed that the delegates were happy to learn that medical tourism is not only concentrated in Metro Manila.
The delegates found Cebu more warm and hospitable and the different world-class resorts and hotels could add up to the plus factor of the province that has long been positioned as one of the best destinations in the world for medical and wellness tourism.
The WHTC turned out successful, said Bognot, as buyers and sellers began signing contracts to do business. Around 115 buyers and 50 corporations from around the world attended the three-day congress. Most of the participation corporations belong to the Fortune 500 companies, said Bognot.
Bognot believed hundred millions of dollars in terms of sales and sales prospects were reached during the congress at the Sofitel in Pasay City.
Among the corporate buyers who came to the Philippines for the congress were health officials and executives of companies in the Middle East, the United States, Europe and Australia, such as Continental Medical Solutions, Global Med Choices LLC, Health Travel Guides, the Federal Ministry of Health of Sudan, Kapico Travels & Tourism, the Ministry of Health of Libya, National Health Insurance (Daman), Qatar Insurance Company, Resort Destination Marketing LLC, the Saudi Armed Forces Medical Services and Surgery Planet.
Other foreign-owned medical and wellness corporations with branches in the Philippines also had delegates to the conference.
The local and basically Filipino-owned participants came from hospitals and medical centers, wellness clinics, medical travel facilitator firms, spas, health resorts, ambulance companies and tourist agencies.