At the Philippines Investment Forum hosted by Euromoney Conference last March 12, Chairman and CEO of Philippine real еstatе firm Century Properties cited the untapped potential of local tourism and addressed the need to prioritize medical tourism infrastructure.

Addressing business leaders, foreign and international investors and economists, Chairman Antonio said that in comparison to other ASEAN countries, the Philippines remains “lagging behind its neighbors” despite the abundance of premiere beach destinations such as Boracay and Palawan.

“Our friends from Thailand have 26 million tourists and Phuket alone is 15 million. Vietnam, the new country that came out is 6 million tourists versus our 4.3. In short, we have the product but we do not have access to the product. We have the best beaches, but how do you go there?”

Antonio explains that the lack of infrastructure supporting convenient modes of transportation are one of the main deterrents of tourism in the country. “As explained this morning, he (the tourist) loves Coron, Palawan but he has to go to Manila, go to Palawan, in Coron, Palawan, takes a banca (ferry) and goes to the resort. So it’s a very complicated and taxing way for the regular tourist, for the normal tourist to do. For the backpacker, it’s exciting. But what I’m stressing is the fact there is still a lot of room to grow in the real еstatе arena.”

A supporter of medical tourism in the Philippines, Antonio shares his positive outlook on the sunshine industry. “We’re very bullish about the prospects of medical tourism in the Philippines. Considering that the cost of treatment in the Philippines is 1/3 of what you would pay in the United States.“

Noting the rising demand for quality outpatient facilities for medical tourists in the country, Century Properties launched Centuria Medical Makati, a 28-storey outpatient medical facility in Kalayaan Avenue, Makati in partnership with GE Healthcare. The edifice is slated for completion in December 2014.

“We believe that we have capable, good doctors. The fact is most of our doctors are educated here and abroad. We have the best nurses all over the world. And the only thing lacking actually, for us to be able to serve this market is the facilities. So we are building a world-class medical arts building in the Philippines. It’s going to be the first of its kind. And this is our contribution to helping push medical tourism.”