BANGKOK, 30 May 2016: Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports says health tourism could generate more revenue and attract high spend travellers to visit the country.
Tourism and Sports Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said health tourism is divided into two segments namely medical and wellness tourism. Both would help to boost the country’s overall revenue.
“About 7 to 8 million international visitors travel for off-shore medical treatment annually…of that 1.2 million visit Thailand…the country has strong potential in terms of service standards, modern technology, professional medical providers on par with Singapore in terms of international certification and offers lower medical costs than India.”
“Travellers in this segment are medium to high income earners, well-educated … they spend more and stay longer in the country.”
Currently, Thailand has 1,609 wellness establishments (1,070 for massage, 509 spa and 30 massage for beauty).
“Alternative medicine is gaining importance and recognition in countries around the world,” she said.
According to Department of Health Service Support, Thailand has 7,739 alternative medicine providers.
Wellness tourism that focuses on nature, local wisdom and culture is a new trend, she noted.
“In Thailand, the market for wellness tourism is smaller than medical tourism… Medical tourism grows more than four times that of wellness tourism, but the worldwide trend shows wellness tourism growing 7.3 times faster that medical tourism,” she said.
The minister urged the tourism industry to develop more health tourism attractions such as herbal centres such as the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herbal Garden, wellness routes for tourists as well as a specialised website promoting wellness tourism in Thailand.