The Philippines can be a major choice for the Japanese retirees who wish to enjoy the value of their retirement money for goods and services. But what is preventing the Japanese market from considering the Philippines as a retirement and investment (in the hospitality sector) destination? How can our facilities and services be recognized by the Japanese market? What are the opportunities for Philippine business? How can communities benefit from the development of retirement villages?
In 2003, there could be more than 20 million Japanese aged 60 years and above. The number of senior citizens belonging to this bracket increases not only because of the number of individuals reaching that age level, but also because they tend to live longer. As of 1999, the average life span of a Japanese individual was 77.10 years for males and 84 years for females – the highest life expectancy rate in the world. At the rate in which the demographic structure is changing in Japan, by the year 2025, the number of people aged 60 and over will be highest in Japan, Italy, and Germany.
Many elderly people in Japan are showing an interest to continue working even after retirement. In fact, the post-retirement period is considered an opportunity to enjoy a “second life.” In contrast to the traditional idea of a retiree as someone who lives in a quiet and inactive environment, a typical Japanese in his second life is still on the move. The second life is evidently a chance to engage oneself in a new range of activities such as sports, arts related hobbies and volunteer work, which are even more exciting if pursued abroad. This is where the concept of overseas multi-habitation (retirees’ pursuit of an alternative way life abroad).
Recognizing these preferences, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) developed Longstay Tourism by facilitating the arrival procedure for tourists aged 55 years and above. According to the study conducted by the TAT for the long stay program, Japanese respondents indicated several major considerations in choosing a retirement destination.
The Philippines can tap into the Japanese retirees market. It has the manpower, the culture, the resources and the cost structure to make life for the Japanese retiree less stressful and more active.
The Philippines has both the available manpower and culture to support retirees. The educational system churns about 300,000 to 400,000 graduates every year and about 7% or 21,000 to 28,000 come from medical-related degrees. The abundance of medical service providers in the country is reflected in the endless stream of nurses, physical therapists and care givers from the Philippines going to other countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. With retirees going to the Philippines, these people need not go to these countries and leave their families behind just to earn the levels of income they would get catering to other nationalities. They can provide the same service and perhaps receive the same income levels serving these nationalities here in the Philippines.
- Manila Bulletin, March 8, 2004