Medical tourists bring in the dollars

BANGKOK, 13 March 2017: Medical tourism is a key factor to boost Thailand’s private hospital business, according to Kasikorn Research Centre most recent report.

The bank think-tank unit said private hospitals continue to be a rising star maintaining a high two-digit revenue growth rate and good proportion of it comes from international patients rather than the domestic market..

“Medical tourism helps to generate at least THB40,000 million a year in treatment fees, which does not take into account income related business such as retail, tourism, hotels and restaurants…the medical tourism market is a  key driver for private hospital business success,” the bank said.

However, Thai patients still supply 70% of the overall revenue at private hospitals. Increasing the local patient market is challenging for private hospitals as public hospitals are improving the quality and scope of their services.

The centre estimates overall revenue of private hospitals targeting international patients will expand 10% to 12% this year, which is higher than private hospitals that focus entirely on the domestic market that are likely to achieve a revenue growth rate of 7% to 9% in 2017.

Private hospital revenue from international patients increased 27% in 2015 compared with a 2% growth in 2011. It is estimated that the growth rate will be 30% this year.

“The Heath and wellness trend is a growth factor… and the government aims to push Thailand as a medical tourism hub to sustain growth.”

Although medical tourism is a promising market, operators will face fierce competition neighbouring countries such as Malaysia.

More needs to be done in specialised medical areas  to allow Thailand hospitals to take the lead.

Kasikorn Research Centre is a subsidiary company of Kasikorn Bank, which conducts tourism and business research mainly on Thailand’s economy including tourism with reliable recommendations and indicators on business prospects.