Some 2 million medical tourists will arrive in Thailand for health care services in 2010, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Department of Export Promotion estimate.
If the agencies’ forecast is correct, this number would represent 14 per cent annual growth for Thailand’s medical-tourism sector, ahead of the growth rate in the country’s GDP. Thailand has experienced a rapid increase medical tourism since the Royal Thai Government developed in 2004 a strategy for developing Thailand into Asia’s leading medical hub.
Research and Markets reported in 2008 that Thailand conducted more medical check-ups and treatments for international tourists than any other country in Asia. Thailand claims to provide some of the world’s best medical-treatment services and facilities and many visitors say that Thai care providers’ “warmth and understanding was a valuable part in the[ir] treatment and speedy recovery”, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The average cost of health care services in Thailand is approximately one-fifth of prices in the United States or Europe. Even so, in 2008, foreign patients generated an estimated US$6 billion for Thailand. One international medical travel journal has reported that the Royal Thai Government has provisioned a five-year plan that aims to double this revenue by 2014.
A major international accounting and consulting firm estimated that 1.5 million Americans traveled abroad for health care services in 2008 and forecasted an annual global market expansion of more than 20 per cent by 2012. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand is prepared to meet this growing demand by excelling in the affordable medical care it delivers to patients from more than 190 countries.
People are taking medically brelated trip to Thailand for health checks, dental and cosmetic surgery, or other medical treatments or routine maintenance. Tourists can undergo and recover from many non-invasive procedures during a typical two-week holiday in Thailand.
The newly released guidebook Patients Beyond Borders: Thailand Edition by Josef Woodman, CEO of Healthy Travel Media, offers an in-depth overview of Thailand’s international hospitals, selected health travel agents, nearby recovery and guest accommodations, spas, and area travel information so that medical tourists know which places to go in Thailand to receive high-quality medical treatment.
As Thailand grows Thailand Asia’s medical hub, considerable opportunities in related fields are being created, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The medical-device sector, for instance, is continuing to grow due to health care facilities’ demands for new and upgraded medical machinery and devices. Thailand is also gaining recognition for research into and clinical trials of advanced medicine and stem-cell treatments, says the national tourism authority.