Thailand’s medical tourism thrives
BANGKOK, 2 August 2016: Thailand has once more been confirmed as one of Asia’s top medical tourism destination in the company of Singapore and South Korea, according to a report by VISA and Oxford Economics.
Looking forward the report confirmed that medical tourism globally has a value exceeding USD439 million with a projected growth rate of up to 25% year-over-year for the next 10 years.
The research claimed that 3 to 4% of the world population will travel internationally for healthcare and health related treatment. Medical travel market revenue could soar to an astronomical USD 3 trillion by 2025 and Thailand figures as one of top three destinations in Asia that is well positioned to benefit.
Patients Beyond Borders‘ editors define a medical traveller as anyone who travels across international borders for the purpose of receiving medical care.
PBB understands the market size is USD 45.5-72 billion, based on approximately 12 million cross-border patients, worldwide ,spending an average of USD 3,800-6,000 per visit, including medically-related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay and accommodations. It estimates that some 1,400,000 Americans will travel outside the US for medical care this year (2016).
In related news, the 2016 report by industry-leading journal, Medical Tourism Index (MTI), listed the top 41 destinations for those seeking value-added services and high quality of healthcare worldwide.
Although the US leads in terms of market share of the global healthcare travel spend, Thailand, Singapore and South Korea continue to thrive according to research by both VISA and MTI.
VISA said: “We believe that medical tourism is primed for accelerated growth as more of these travellers seek new treatments, as well as lower costs or higher-quality care not available in their home country.”
Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, has identified high-yield niche markets that can raise the quality benchmark and improve tourism spend
Medical tourism under the category, Health and Wellness, is one of them, primed to deliver substantial benefits for Thailand’s tourism industry, the TAT governor reported recently.
Last month, the 9th Chiang Mai International Health Conference 2016 was hosted at the northern city’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre, in parallel with the Lanna Expo.
Chiang Mai Health Services Promotion Association president, Duangsamorn Chairat, noted the event highlighted Chiang Mai’s “vast potential to deliver health-related products and services” to medical tourists under this year’s theme “Healthy Long-Stay”.
Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand and capital of the northern region, offers a wide range of health services including health checks, medical, dentistry, spa, Thai massage, herbal medicine, health products and traditional Thai medicine.
The healthcare industry generates trillions of baht a year for the local economy and tourism in Chiang Mai.
Nation-wide the healthcare system in Thailand treated 2.81 million foreign patients in 2015, up 10.2%. In 2013, medical tourists contributed an estimated USD4.7 billion to the Thailand’s economy.
Medical tourism makes up 0.4% of Thailand’s GDP, while tourism overall accounts for around 6% to 7%, and is considered the third most important economic driver in Thailand.
The prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) certification for healthcare service providers, worldwide, has been awarded to 52 hospitals, specialised clinics, or medical centres in Thailand, up from 22 three years ago.
More than half of the accredited hospitals are in Bangkok followed by Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Samui.
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