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Medical Tourism Reaches the Pinnacle in Southeast Asia

July 20, 2013 Destination Thailand, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59These days, Thailand is no longer only visited for the leisure and cultural purposes. Not now that it is becoming one of the fastest rising contenders in medical tourism on a global scale.

Statistics today show that Thailand is now becoming the new hub for foreign patients to seek treatments with records depicting that the number of overseas patients grows at a yearly rate of 16 per cent. With the achievement duly owing to one key factor that has always been attracting the drive – cost-efficiency. As time has proven, Thailand has now been recognized by the world as one of the leaders in providing high-quality medical services at a more affordable price. TAT-www.thailand.net.au

As healthcare costs in other countries are on the upward course, budget-conscious patients resort to traveling abroad and seeking treatments at a lower price tag with matching or, most often, better quality than what they will get in their own countries.

In a recent survey of 13,000 tourists conducted by VISA, six per cent has claimed that the main purpose for their travel was for health reasons. Among the percentage saw that 31 per cent of these people chose Southeast Asia to receive medical treatments, with Thailand and Singapore as the top two destinations in the region. At the present time, Thailand ranks ninth place, attracting 2.4 million foreign patients, while Singapore ranks thirteenth, attracting 850,000, in the world record of top destinations for medical tourists. The main reason that the latter lags behind it’s regional neighbor in terms of popularity is due to the higher cost it generally charges – 25 per cent more expensive. Nevertheless, Singapore has distinguished itself to be a medical retreat with premium-quality healthcare and specialized treatments that are not as commonly serviced elsewhere, such as the neurosurgical procedures and heart transplants. Hence, Singapore was World Health Organization’s award winner as boasting Asia’s best healthcare system in 2000. Ultimately, however, it is still down to the cost that serves as the deal breaker. With that in mind, it may seem like Thailand could be the ideal choice in the market, but it is not a contender without obstacles. Thailand, holding the advantages in price and hospitality, suffers a road bump in language barrier as there are fewer numbers of people who can speak English compared to the likes of Singapore and Malaysia.

Nevertheless, the challenge did not seem to hinder Thailand’s effort in expanding its’ medical tourism industry as evidenced by their decision to alter the number of days that foreign patients from various Middle Eastern countries are allowed to stay in the Kingdom from the initial 30 days to 90. As most of the patients Thailand is currently receiving come from the United States and Western Europe, their attempts in expansion is as apparent as ever before.

Written by : Richard Visavutanont

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