Thailand is among the top five destinations of inbound medical tourism spending globally, according to the latest research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The report titled "A Prescription For A Healthier Economy" shows international spending on medical tourism products and services grew by 358% in nominal terms between 2000 and 2017, increasing from US$2.4 billion (72.5 billion baht) to $11 billion.
The growth resulted in spending on medical tourism reaching 1.2% of international visitor spending in 2017, compared to just 0.6% in 2000.
The United States is the largest destination market for inbound medical tourists. The spending reached almost US$4 billion in 2017, representing nearly 36% of global medical tourism spending.
France ($800 million) is the second biggest market, followed by Turkey ($763 million) and Belgium ($636 million).
Thailand is in the fifth position with the total earning about $589 million, representing about 1% of overall inbound tourism spending.
Jordan ($504 million) is the sixth, followed by Costa Rica ($451 million), United Kingdom ($420 million), Hungary ($417 million) and South Korea ($415 million).
According to the research, Thailand is among the top 10 as well as among the leading emerging countries for medical tourism because the Thai government has aimed to make the country a global centre for medical tourism through investment initiatives, including tax exemptions for investment into new health facilities.
For the outbound medical tourism market, the United States is also the largest spender. American people spend $2.3 billion on medical tourism services abroad in 2017, representing 20% of the world market.
The second largest spender is Kuwait ($1.5 billion), followed by Nigeria ($783 million), the Netherlands ($678 million), France ($600 million), Oman ($492 million), Canada ($444 million), Belgium ($409 million), Austria ($334 million) and Germany ($300 million).
To promote the medical tourism industry, WTTC recommends governments establish smart regulation and recognised accreditation/certification of medical practitioners and facilities, develop visa facilitation policies, define the skills gap and develop training to enhance the talent.
Financial incentives should be created to attract investment.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched an "Amazing Thailand Grand Sale Passport Privileges" campaign to stimulate travel spending.
Discounts and privileges are offered by more than 200 partners including department stores, jewellery suppliers, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes, spas, hospitals and wellness facilities plus entertainment and nightlife venues.
Tourists can join the campaign by showing their passport when purchasing items or pay for services at participating outlets. The campaign will last until Jan 31.
- Bangkok Airways launches the "Points Travel Sale" campaign.
It offers members of the FlyerBonus frequent flyer programme 30-50% discounts to redeem award tickets on selected domestic and international destinations, including Sukhothai, Lampang, Samui, Maldives, Cam Ranh/Nha Trang in Vietnam and Luang Prabang in Laos.
Awards can be redeemed as much as 50% off the standard rate.
Flight reservations can be made from now until Dec 5. Award tickets are valid for travel between Nov 22 and June 30.
HOTELS DEALS & UPDATE
- Dusit Thani Hua Hin launches "Sailing Across Time" package during the New Year.
The offer includes a one-night stay in a newly renovated Deluxe room on Dec 31 with breakfast, two tickets to the New Year's Eve Gala dinner and party and complimentary shuttle van to Hua Hin City.
Price Is 18,500++ baht per room for two guests.
- Pimalai Resort & Spa on Koh Lanta launches "Secret Sanctuary" package.
The offer includes a three-night stay in a deluxe room or a one-, two- or three-bedroom pool villa, an à la carte dinner, a one-hour aromatic massage, and a half-day island excursion to Koh Rok with a barbecue lunch, or a four-hour sunset cruise to Koh Ha with snorkelling, canapés and drinks.
Prices start at 39,180 baht based on double occupancy and include breakfast, airport transfers, tax and service charge.
The package is available from now until Dec 20 and Jan 11 to April 30.
- Best Western Hotels & Resorts has joined hands with United Overseas Bank (UOB) to offer 15% off the best available rate for UOB prepaid card holders.
The promotion is available at participating Best Western branded hotels and resorts all across Asia until Oct 21. It also includes an additional 15% off for food and beverage throughout their stay.
Reservations must be made directly with Best Western Hotels & Resorts.
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