Medical tourism remains a strong economic driver for Bangkok

A question that must play on the mind of the many quality hospitals and medical facilities in Thailand, and especially in Bangkok, is how much will the creation of the ASEAN economic community at the end of 2015 affect medical tourism?

The answer, of course, is not a definite but some conclusions may be drawn. Bangkok has been a prime destination for ‘medical tourists’ for some years now. In 2010, figures released by the Ministry of Public Health suggested medical tourism was worth 78.74 billion baht with 1.98 million patients arriving in Thailand. By 2012, the demographic change somewhat: around 2.53 million people came to Thailand, and mainly into Bangkok, for medical tourism reasons, and that’s a healthy 27% increase. The majority of these medical tourists came from Japan and the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, the Middle East, particularly nationals from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Australia.

Thailand has enhanced his reputation in recent years as a country with internationally accredited medical facilities. It was the first country in Asia to achieve Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation – the gold standard in global health care – in 2002, and as of the middle of 2014 there were 37 hospitals now accredited, with no less than 23 located in Bangkok.

Beauty Med works with 11 JCI-accredited hospitals, located in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Phuket.

More and more of Thailand’s medical professionals are highly qualified and the number have won awards for their work. Over 500+ doctors practicing in Thai hospitals are American Board Certified and are now successfully performing the most complex and invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technology.

For Americans, it’s the lower cost of medical treatment compared with the USA that is the attraction. For the US nationals, Thailand ranks as the second-most visited country for medical services, behind Mexico.

Depending on the procedure, recovery time might be as little as a few hours or last a few weeks. Chances are, once the procedure has taken place and recovery is complete, most of the patients will be on the first available flight out of Thailand. Yet, having had a little time in the country, albeit for medical reasons, it’s no real surprise that large numbers are not only recommending medical procedures in Thailand, but are often returning to his regular tourists.

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(Original article appeared in print edition of the bangkok-business-supplement.com)

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