Thailand Boosts Medical Tourism IndustryIn the light of the recent political crisis that has affected the country's tourism sector, Thailand seeks to promote itself as a leading destination for medical tourism.
Over the past ten years, the Land of Smiles has been one of Asia's hotspots for medical tourism, with its leading hospitals known for offering a high standard of healthcare at a reasonable cost. The number of foreigners visiting Thailand for treatment has increased significantly. Bangkok remains the leading destination for medical tourism, with Phuket becoming the second preferred destination for treatment in terms of patient volume.
According to the Department of Health, around 1.5 million foreign patients has sought treatment in the country last year, as compared with a mere 630,000 patients in 2004. The growing popularity of traditional Thai and alternative medicine has also contributed to the country's renown for medical tourism.
According to public health minister Jurin Laksanavisit, the initiative to revive the growing sector would require a significant amount of support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. We are planning to do a series of roadshows that will restore the interest of foreign patients as well as their confidence in going to Thailand for getting treatments he reveals. Laksanavisit further added that the opinion of stakeholders in the health care industry would be very important at this point to create a successful campaign for the industry's revival.
A series of marketing initiatives under the slogan "Together We Can" has been launched recently to help recoup the losses of the tourism sector. The Medical Tourism Cluster (MTC) was also formed as an alliance of businesses that would offer a wide range of medical services in the country. The group will be working closely with overseas partners to help promote the new healthcare campaigns and promotions.
However, these ideas are met with opposition as some people believe that roadshows are not enough to restore faith in Thailand's medical tourism industry. Suraphon Svetasreni of the Tourism Authority of Thailand asserts that before these efforts, Thailand must first seek to rebuild its links with other Asian markets. We must be able to capture the confidence of prospects in China, Hong Kong, and Japan, as these are our dynamic target markets in the region he declares.
This thread has been closed from taking new comments.