PHUKET: With the rise of medical tourism, Montara Hospitality Group is branching out from luxury resorts and developing a new wellness resort and residence worth 6.6 billion baht in Phuket.
Chief executive Kittisak Pattamasaevi said medical tourism is becoming a trend in Thailand as there are many Joint Commission International-accredited hospitals in the country.
The company wants to focus on a slightly different concept -- proactive wellness of mind and body.
The project, called Tri Vananda, is located on a 600-rai plot in Pru Champa, Thalang district, 10 kilometres from its existing resort Trisara.
"Wellness is the future of travel," he said.
"Tourists will have longer stays and spend more on wellness tourism when compared with traditional travel. The repeat visit rate for this type of travel is also higher."
The project's plot was formerly an old mine, which is now used for gardens and farms to provide trees, flowers, fruits and vegetables to Trisara.
With the concept of an integrated wellness community, the project's first phase covers 300 rai and comprises 77 pool villas for sale as part of resort accommodations and a wellness centre.
The 77 villas range in size from 1-4 bedrooms, from 138-671 square metres on a plot sized 75-580 sq wah.
Prices for these projects range between 16.5 to 109 million baht for a 90-year leasehold contract.
Six units at the project have been booked by three expats from Hong Kong, two expats residing in Thailand and a Thai customer.
Mr Kittisak Pattamasaevi at the Tri Vananda Wellness Resort.
All are regular guests at Trisara.
The wellness facilities feature consultation rooms, physiotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine treatment rooms, traditional Thai medicine treatment rooms, a cognitive health centre and facilities for health diagnostics.
"The wellness centre, which will be a residential community, will open in July this year to support owners and guests at Trisara," said Mr Kittisak, 34, the second son of Narong, the group's chairman.
"We will create a programme fit for all generations."
He said Tweenie Club is planned for kids aged 8-13, the first such club in Thailand.
The club aims to educate kids about nutrition, meditation and mindfulness, as young children are easily corrupted by the digital world, said Mr Kittisak.
He joined the business six years ago and said before the pandemic, 95% of guests were foreigners and the average occupancy rate was 70%.
However, since the second quarter of last year, 90% of guests are Thai and room rates have been cut by half to 15,000 baht.
"Before Covid-19 hit, we thought occupancy at a wellness resort would take at least five years to ramp up, which is longer than the two years for a general resort," said Mr Kittisak.
However, the break-even period for a wellness resort has turned out to be shorter, he said.
The resort at Tri Vananda is set to open in early 2023 and the group expects to sell all villas by mid-2022.