Medical tourism in Thailand continues to boom

PHOTO: Medical tourism in Thailand continues to boom

More and more foreigners are seeking medical treatment in Thailand each year, with 2012 expecting to see 2.53 million foreign patients generating Bt121.6 billion (S$4.9 billion) in income.

Most popular treatments are for orthopedics, heart surgery, cosmetic surgery and dental work, a senior official said yesterday.

Department of Health Service Support chief Somchai Pinyopornpanich reported the growing trend - 1.37 million foreigners in 2007 generated Bt41 billion; 1.38 million in 2008, Bt50.9 billion; 1.39 million in 2009, Bt63.3 billion; 1.98 million in 2010, Bt78.7 billion; and 2.24 million in 2011 generated Bt97.8 billion.

The top five countries were Japan, USA, UK, Middle East and Australia.

Somchai said the three main groups of foreigners seeking medical treatment were - foreign residents (41.4 per cent), tourists who use some medical services during their stay (32 per cent), and visitors seeking specific medical treatments here (26.6 per cent).

He said a medical hub campaign (focusing on medical treatment, Thai spa, Thai traditional medicine and Thai herbs) would improve Thai medical services in general.