PHNOM PENH - The current glow of medical tourism is not stopping Southeast Asian hospitals from thinking about future business. Many are looking beyond their borders in the search for new sources of revenue.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, Thailand's largest private hospital operator, recently opened its third institution in the only foreign country that it operates in, Cambodia. The new eight-story Royal Phnom Penh Hospital stands out on the dilapidated road leading from Phnom Penh airport into the city centre.
White marble floors, glimmering walls and a high ceiling create the feel of a hotel lobby.
However, the Royal Phnom Penh is not targeting tourists. Eighty per cent of its patients are Cambodian. Expats and diplomats in the country account for most of the rest.
"We target the rich locals who used to fly to Thailand, Singapore or France for medical services and the middle class that went to Vietnam," said Somarch Wongkhomthong, director of the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital. "Many of these people have been to Thai hospitals and know the standard there, so they will come if we open close to them," he added.
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