Thailand & Medical Tourism

Medical tourism- from breast augmentation and teeth whitening to heart surgery and orthopedics- is big business for Thailand as figures show total revenue of over Bt97.8 billion in 2012. Thailand is home to many high quality hospitals and has been working to become a premier destination for all forms medical tourism, the government fully supports medical tourism. How serious is Thailand? check out this press release from December 2012 that came from the Thailand Medical Tourism Board:

Thailand Ready to be Medical Hub and Aim World-Class Health Care Destination Backed by BOI’s Support and Government Policy
By The Board of Investment (BOI), NewsOK
21 December 2012
BANGKOK, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) announces its support to push Thailand as the medical hub of Asia to provide medical services, latest medical technology and medicine, and every activity related to modern medicine, alternative medicine and biotechnology.The Thai government is also making Thailand the medical hub of Asia as it is confident that Thailand has outstanding fundamental structure in the medical field and the human resources are recognized to be of international standard. Thai medical services are renowned worldwide, resulting in a rapid growth in related industries such as spa, Thai massage, Thai herbs, serviced apartments and health tourism. The aforementioned facts can be vividly reflected in the Thailand Medical Hub Export 2012 which recently held in early September. The event depicted the reaffirmation of Thailand and The Ministry of Public Health to show readiness and potential of the country to becoming an international medical hub that is also affordable to both Thais and foreigners. According to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the Government has clearly set a policy, in which will to be implemented from 2012 to 2016, to turn Thailand into a medical hub in four major areas: medical treatment, health promotion, traditional Thai medicine and alternative medicine, and health products, especially Thai herbs. Also, Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri expects that this policy will bring in 800 billion baht in earnings in the next five years. Since the beginning of 2012, about 2.5 million foreign tourists have visited Thailand for medical services, thus bringing in about 121.6 billion baht.

The full press release can be found here.
And here is a good article detailing the number of people seeking medical treatment in Thailand and the significant contribution to Thailand’s GDP from medical tourism:

New figures & numbers for Medical Tourism Industry in Thailand

Posted on August 3, 2012 by admin

For years, the true number of medical tourist flocking Thailand each year has been discussed within the medical tourism industry. The figures presented by the Thai officials have by medical tourism professionals repeatedly been regarded as deliberately being elevated, in order to appoint Thailand’s right for the medical tourism crown.

Resent figures presented by the Chief of the Department of Health Service Support, Mr. Somchai Pinyopornpanich, reported that the growing trend of foreigners seeking medical aid in Thailand generated Bt97.8 billion (USD 3.1 billion) in 2011.

Top Countries Seeking Medical Tourism in Thailand

  • Japan
  • USA
  • UK
  • Middle East
  • Australia

Medical tourists vs. Expatriates in Thailand

When presenting these figures, Mr. Somchai Pinyopornpanich also pinpointed the three main groups of foreigners seeking medical treatment in Thailand as the following:

  1. Foreign residents, so called Expatriates: 41,4%
  2. Tourists using some medical services during their stay: 32%
  3. Visitors seeking specific medical treatments in Thailand 26,6%

True number of Medical Tourists in Thailand

Through acknowledging that most foreign patient seeking medical treatment in Thailand are not so called fly-ins, deliberately coming to Thailand with the main purpose of a surgery, wellness treatment or dental care, the previous numbers of medical tourists can be vastly reduced. The former statistics deriving from the Tourism Authority of Thailand of around 1.5 million medical tourists flocking Thailand each year shows that the true number might be closer to 600,000 medical tourists in Thailand for 2011, and with an estimation of about 673,000 medical tourists for 2012.

Although these “truer” numbers might seem discouraging for medical tourism industry players, they are welcomed by most professionals that have requested fairer calculations and estimations for many years.

The full article can be found here.

I have always found the medical treatment to be outstanding and very affordable, it makes perfect sense Thailand would promote medical tourism as they have a number of advantages. As I work in the medical industry, I would offer one piece of advice- you get what you pay for… Thailand and many other countries.

About faranginbangkok

I began working in Bangkok during 2008- a time that featured a great deal of political unrest in Thailand and particularly Bangkok. I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was working on a project in Thailand. Generally, I spent 2 weeks in Bangkok and then 3-4 weeks in San Francisco. Did Bangkok begin to feel like home? Yes, and No. Bangkok and the Thai culture forced me to feel many things, the change in culture and environment was so dramatic it forced the decision- embrace or ignore. I embraced and made Bangkok my home and base in 2009. I have enjoyed living in Bangkok, experiencing Thailand and the entire ASEAN region. I moved to Singapore in 2016...fallen behind on this blog since.
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3 Responses to Thailand & Medical Tourism

  1. I think your informational post is great resource to lots of peoples, because most of them need these kinds of medical services.

  2. Medicaltourism is the best choice for getting your treatment at very lowcost.

  3. Pingback: Thailand Medical - Thailand Retirement Helpers

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