Revised Tourism Code promotes medical, agricultural tourism

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 Nov) – Specialty practices in Davao City’s tertia hospitals have the potential to be part of medical tourism packages for local and foreign tourists, Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Health said following the approval on third reading last week of the revised Tourism Code that would also promote agricultural and community-based tourism.

“Here at the 3rd District where all the fruit farms are, we will now assist the farmers so they can organize in promoting fruit-picking activities, so that they can directly sell to tourists,” she said.

Villafuerte said Brokenshire Memorial Hospital, Davao Doctors Hospital and San Pedro Hospital could have specialty practices that could fit into a medical tourism package.

Medical tourism, described last week by City Tourism Officer Lisette Marques as an emerging portfolio of cities to entice local and foreign tourists, was inserted as an amendment by Villafuerte during deliberations on the Revised Tourism Code.

“These are for local and foreign tourists who wish to have, for example, liposuction or dermatological procedures,” she said.

Prior to the amendment, the tourism code only had Medical Spa, Villafuerte said.

She said hospitals here could offer a package that would include the medical procedure, hotel accomodations, and airfare.

“I intend to give a copy of the accreditation requirements to the Medical Directors so they can comply,” she said.

Villafuerte said hospitals need to be ISO-accredited. But the other requirements for accreditation by the Departments of Health and Tourism, are “very basic,” she said, citing physical plant and equipment.

“I’m sure some hospitals already have these, but this addition in the Tourism

Ordinance will assure that the city will now promote specialty practices as one of the reasons to visit Davao,” she said.

DOT XI chief tourism operations officer Eden David earlier this month said the amendment to the ordinance would also highlight the city as an agricultural destination, citing the Kadayawan festival to be only one of the many times visitors could visit the city for fruits

The City Tourism Office said it was hoping the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Code could be done in time for the renewal of business permits early next year. (MindaNews)