A steadily growing number of foreigners seeking medical services in Thailand has proven the country’s vast potential in the health service sector while adding another appeal as a favorite tourist destination in…
A steadily growing number of foreigners seeking medical services in Thailand has proven the country’s vast potential in the health service sector while adding another appeal as a favorite tourist destination in Asia.
To keep up with the growth which now averages over a million annual tourist arrivals and recording some 40 billion Baht per year from health tourism alone, the government and private sectors are joining hands in an aggressive campaign to support Proud Asia 2007, the 1st international trade exhibition & conference on medical tourism, spa & wellness industries on 27-30 September at the Hall 9, IMPACT Convention Center in Muangthong Thani.
As full preparation for Thailand to become Asia’s hub in said industries, Proud Asia 2007 is expected to be the largest gathering of local and international exhibitors from all over the region and beyond. Some 300 exhibitors and 15,000 visitors from Singapore, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and Japan are expected to showcase the uniqueness of what their respective country has to offer in medical tourism, spa and wellness industries.
Mrs. Yearayong Chairut, Assistant Executive Director in the Production Promotion Department of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expressed confidence that Thailand is more than ready to claim the title, saying, “Health concern is now a world trend. Medical tourism and spa are among the country’s “major attractions” being offered by TAT to the world because of their high standard and quality. That’s why our health services with Thai way have been increasingly popular in world market.”
The recorded number of tourists and the income generated by these industries are still expected to rise every year as more medical tourists are turning to Thailand’s high quality yet less expensive products and services, including physical surgical procedures which have become well-known among other countries.
Dr. Kamol Wattanakrai, the Secretary General of The Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Thailand, added, “Our surgeons have proven their outstanding performance in these fields. Aside from the lower cost of services, the tourists get additional chance to travel and shop at the same time. Their total expense here is far less than what they have to pay if they go to Europe and USA. Supporting the medical and wellness sector is another of Thailand’s flagship industry, the spa business group.”
Dr. Paiboon Pilanthaowat, President of The Federation of Thai Spa, said that Thai spa industry has long been recognized all over the world for its uniqueness and now, it is a major contributor to the national economy.
“Thai Spa covers all range of industries starting from the local herbs being used to the spa products. This industry has generated jobs to local people and good revenues to Thailand,” Dr. Paiboon noted.
Also supporting TAT in promoting Thailand as the region’s medical and health tourism hub is the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA).
Represented by Mr. Sangiam Ekachote from its Public Relations Committee, ATTA believed that it has never been difficult for Thailand to claim such title and it has never been difficult for their group to sell the country as such to those requiring the best hospital and other medical facilities.
“Thailand has excellent potentialities for being the hub in medical tourism. The private hospitals in Thailand are staffed by highly qualified medical staff and equipped with the latest technology which adds a new dimension to its tradition of hospitality. There are overseas trained doctors and specialists while multilingual staff ensure that there are no communication barriers.”
The industry has also gone with the trend of having many private hospitals establish partnerships with first-class hotels to raise the standards of medical facilities.
“Hotel standard hospitals and warm hospitality are important elements that have impressed tourists. Most importantly, the combined treatment and holidays with a far cheaper package than an ordinary holiday package offered by other countries is the most attractive factor,” Mr. Ekachote added.