Despite being a landlocked city, Quezon City boasts of its world-class universities, info-tech hubs, and venues for leisure and recreation. Now the city government is aiming to capitalize on the presence of credible medical facilities and numerous skilled doctors/ healthcare practitioners in the area as well as the inherent hospitality of its people by turning the city into the ‘Wellness Capital of Asia’ by the year 2020.
The city government wants to be part of the growing global medical tourism market, which is estimated based on reports from Allied Market Research to be a US$143 billion industry in less than three years.
“Quezon City is truly a medical and wellness destination,” said city mayor Herbert Bautista during the QC Medical Tourism Stakeholders Summit held on June 6 at the newly opened Seda Hotel in Vertis North. “Some of the best hospitals in the country started in Quezon City—like St. Luke’s Medical Center, Capitol Medical Center, and even specialized hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, among others.”
To date the city is home to 42 private and 16 public hospitals, many of which are already popular among patients from other countries. Also to be found across Quezon City are numerous aesthetic clinics, medical spas, rehabilitation centers, fitness centers, and health-friendly restaurants that serve organic food and fresh fruit juices.
The QC experience
However, Bautista admits that there are measures they still need to put up to realize the goal to become an international medical tourism destination. “Most patients do not come here alone. They are accompanied by relatives. We want to cater to them, too, by providing them a complete Quezon City experience.”
To become a wellness capital, Bautista said patients and their families should be given the best options within the city (and preferably near the medical centers) when they need to book accommodations to stay in, dine out, buy supplies, or enjoy leisure activities. “We have to ensure that we have a clean, safe, and accessible city to them.”
Bautista claims that the city has already started strengthening itself as a domestic medical tourism center. He recalled that they started the call for developers to construct accommodation facilities in specific areas in 2010. Thus, some hotels have already built locations in and around the Tomas Morato area to cater to families of patients who undergo treatment at nearby St. Luke’s Medical Center and Capitol Medical Center.
With the goal to make Quezon City a medical and wellness tourism destination, the city government set a ‘Vision 2020 Commitment,’ which enlists steps and action plans to make it a reality. Various stakeholders were gathered in QC Medical Tourism Summit to take part in the endeavor and provide inputs as the city develops effective plans, which would be finalized for implementation by December 2017.
“We need all your support starting today,” Bautista told the participants of the summit. “From the travel agencies to the restaurants, we have to be ready to welcome tourists who are here to experience medical treatment and cosmetic procedures, or those undergoing therapy.”
Bautista asks homeowners and entrepreneurs near and around the hospital zones to take part in this endeavor by opening up their homes for bed and breakfast or putting up related businesses that would further offer convenience to medical tourists and their companions. The mayor hinted that the city government is considering offering incentives (like exemption to property taxes for up to 3 years) to those who will heed the call.
Also part of the plan is convincing existing subdivisions and villages in and around the La Mesa Eco Park area to open their doors for retirees, who prefer to stay where there are readily accessible medical facilities nearby. “The area has the potential to be an ideal retirement center,” Bautista ended.