In order to lure foreign retirees who are looking for alternative homes to settle in and to make the Philippines as one of the top destinations for medical tourism, developers are urged to build retirement villages with complete facilities rather than offer just sleeping quarters. This was the advise of the Retirement Healthcare Coalition (RHC).
RHC, which is led by American, European, Japanese, and Korean Chambers of Commerce, said that the country needs to step up because their Asian neighbors have gone ahead of the Philippines by stepping up the infrastructure of their retirement villages to get the bigger share of the “ballooning” silver market, which is expected to make up about 25% of the world’s population in the year 2030.
According to Marc Daubenbuechel, RHC Executive Director, the number of retirees looking for homes outside their own countries is increasing each year so the Philippines must be able to cater to their need for retirement communities that fit their lifestyle.
Mr. Daubenbuechel warned that the country could miss out on this booming market if the developers continue to offer mere sleeping quarters, rather than a retirement village. He said that retirees live in traditional communities or residential developments and this existing retirement homes are not-senior citizen friendly because of the lack of important amenities for the leisure, entertainment, and most importantly, the health and wellness of the retirees.
Real Estate Professional, Mr. Ramon C.F. Cuervo III, recalled the presentation of Mr. Joao Santos Lucas during the Retirement and Healthcare Summit. Mr. Lucas, the General Manager of Lucas Consultants, said that the “Best retirement village is not just a standard or a checklist of items. It is a concept.”
“Retirement communities are efficient and effective solutions. They can create the right scale and concentration of customers and providers. This will ease access to key services, create opportunity to develop dynamic and supporting communities, promote independence and well being of the elderly,” Mr. Lucas said.
Aside from this, Mr. Daubenbuechel advised the developers to re-invent their marketing strategies because most of them are focused to sell the property as fast as possible. So, instead of selling their properties, the developers should provide the retirees options by making long-term leases available, which is a better marketing approach for retirement villages here. Developers can also try to join PRA and the RHC and be marketed to foreign destinations.
The increasing number of foreign patients receiving medical services in the Philippines indicated that the country is a highly developed medical country. So the need for an improved retirement village is important because healthcare treatments are vital for the healthcare of the retirees.
Dr. Marc Abat, Head of the Center for Healthcare Aging, said that healthcare is a vital factor in decisions regarding retirement and believes that the Philippines is capable of providing good geriatric care of professional personnel, levels of care, and facilities, which needs further enhancements regarding healthcare international accreditation and monitoring have to be instituted.
The Philippines started its medical tourism campaign in 2004 with its initiative, Philippine Medical Tourism Program (PMTP). This initiative aims to promote the country’s private healthcare services to the worldwide market. Eventhough the Philippines’ started its medical tourism late’- ahead of its neighbors Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, the country has recorded a total of 200,000 international patients coming to the country each year for medical treatments, generating US$ 350 million per annum.
Being an English-speaking country as its advantage, the government continues to work in promoting the country as a prime destination for medical tourism. “Our government is repackaging the country as a preferred health and wellness tourism destination,” Dr. Hernando B. Delizo of Clinica Manila said. Clinica Manila, recently given International Accreditation by Accreditation Canada, is one of the healthcare sectors promoting medical tourism.
In the Asian Medical Tourism Analysis from 2008-2012, it highlighted the improvements in medical tourism. It placed the Philippines, Malaysia, and South Korea as emerging prospects in Asia. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, the country has been improving and strengthening its healthcare infrastructure and wellness sector in order to be competitive from its Asian neighbors and attract more foreign patients. Several hospitals and wellness centers have gained international accreditation.
The medical tourism in the country will remain robust in the coming years. Even though medical tourism in the Philippines is facing a challenging time, the Philippines is taking positive steps to maintain a slice of the lucrative medical tourism market.
Dr. Crieslda Abesamis, Director of Department of Health, stated that “To be globally competitive, we must provide quality health services (at the minimum), enhanced by the Philippines’ competitive advantages of competent, caring, compassionate doctors, nurses and health workers; continuous development of world-class healthcare facilities providing quality services at the right cost; English-speaking friendly hospitablepeople; in tourism sites and retirement communities.”
WITH SOURCES FROM:
- Philippine Retirement Summit Secretariat
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