Healthcare Holiday: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Destination Image Representations of the Philippines in Health Tourism Websites

Bunao, N. C. (2018). Healthcare Holiday: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Destination Image Representations of the Philippines in Health Tourism Websites, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication

This thesis examines the destination image representations of the Philippines in local and international health tourism websites. To understand the discourses in these representations, 14 health tourism websites from local and international producers were analyzed through Critical Discourse Analysis with the support of the Framing and Orientalism theories. This study found that the Philippines is represented as a modern, technologically-advanced health destination with professional practitioners who are educated abroad and an English-speaking general public, all of which are symbols of modernity perpetuated and set by the Western world. Orientalist discourses of modernity is more evident than exoticism, a distinct contradiction to previous tourism literature’s argument that exoticism is more utilized in the East’s destination image marketing. A critical reading on these representations revealed that the health tourism industry itself is ambiguous as there is conflict between healthcare and traditional tourism. Finally, the findings revealed the prominence of private institutions in online destination image marketing, which focus on advertising their own health institutions as opposed to a national healthcare branding. Thus, the overall destination image of the health tourism in the Philippines is largely put forward by the profit-driven private sector.

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