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Exec: Longer visa validity for medical tourists needed

The inter-agency body tasked to promote medical tourism and wellness has pushed for the extension of validity of visa for foreigners who want to avail of medical services in the country, an official of Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

Roberto P. Alabado III, director for medical tourism of DOT, said on Friday in the membership meeting of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. at The Ritz Hotel that there shall be a visa for medical tourists, which should be valid up to six months.

The national government currently issues visa that is valid up to 59 days, which is continuously renewed if a tourist wanted to extend his or stay in the country.

“But it would be a hassle for medical tourists to apply for extension. There should be a visa for medical tourists. Its validity shall be longer compared on the present visa for travelers,” Alabado said.

He said there are vast opportunities in medical tourism that can attract tourists. Currently, he said the markets of the Philippines for medical tourism are United States, Canada, Indonesia, Pacific Island nations, Palau, Guam, Papua New Guinea, the Middle East, and Australia.

The inter-agency body includes the Department of Health and the Bureau of Immigration.

In its website, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said nationals from countries like those in Southeast Asia, Australia, United States, Bahamas, Belgium, Greece, Finland, Kuwait, Japan and Korea can stay in the Philippines without visa for 30 days.

Those who want to apply for extension have to obtain a visa.

“A Philippine Visa is an endorsement made on a travel document by a consular officer at a Philippine Embassy or Consulate abroad denoting that the visa application has been properly examined and that the bearer is permitted to proceed to the Philippines and request permission from the Philippine Immigration authorities at the ports of entries to enter the country,” the DFA said. (KMF)


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