Davao’s medical tourism to attract more Indonesians

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Jan) – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said the local medical industry is more advanced compared to that of Manado, potentially attracting more Indonesian visitors that will boost the city’s “medical tourism.”

One of the hospitals in Davao City. MindaNews photo

Montenegro told MindaNews on Monday that the city can take advantage of “medical tourism” to attract more Indonesian visitors flying via the twice-weekly Davao-Manado direct flight as the hospitals maintain “advanced medical facilities” and provide a wide array of services to patients, making this industry here far more competitive than in Manado.

He said it would be more costly for residents in Manado to undergo medical services in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia than it would for them if they avail of the similar services in Davao.

Montenegro said that the travel time between Manado and Davao, which takes only about an hour and a half, is shorter than the three hours and 15 minutes between Manado and Jakarta. Manado is only 630 kms from Davao by plane, whereas Jakarta is over 2,000 kms away.

He said the hospital industry here could be another come-on for Davao to lure more Indonesian visitors, sustaining the recently revived Davao-Manado air route serviced by Garuda Indonesia starting last September 2019 and PAL Express beginning March 30, 2020.

Before the Davao-Manado stopped operations in 2007, several Indonesians had preferred the medical services here to those in Jakarta due to the affordability of the services offered by the local hospitals in Davao.

“We also expect Davao to be able to provide medical tourism via this route because many of those in Manado before would rather fly to Davao to get their medical services done at our hospitals here that are also accredited by Jakarta hospitals than them flying to Jakarta which is very costly,” he added.

The addition of twice-weekly Davao-Manado flights by PAL Express will complement the existing flights offered by Garuda Air, according to Montenegro. PAL Express is also expected to launch the Zamboanga-to-Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) flight simultaneous with the Davao-Manado flight launch.

He said those new flights will make the key areas of Mindanao become more interconnected to the key destinations in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a 25-year-old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)