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Medical Tourism is Big Business in Thailand

Staff Reporter 08.03.2012 21:21
Medical Tourism is Big Business in Thailand - Pattaya Times News - Pattaya Times - Medical Tourism - Big Business in Thai - Thailand’s major pri - Hospitals - The Tourism Authorit - TAT - Farooq Siddiqui - Medical treatment

For quite a number of years, Thailand’s major private hospitals have led the creation of a new tourism segment, that has taken off and is now bringing big rewards: medical tourism.

Hospitals such as the Bangkok Hospital and Bumrungrad Hospital have led the way, drawing wealthy clients from the Middle East, Japan and the United States seeking a high standard of care at affordable prices.

Now, marketing systems are in place to bring such clients to Bangkok and Pattaya as well. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and individual tour operators have taken the lead to develop this important segment.

For example, tour operators in the State of Qatar see positive signs in Thailand’s medical tourism industry, thanks to competitive prices and the international standards of many medical facilities. Overall, Qatari tourist numbers have increased 58% in the 2007-2010 period alone—and many of those visitors are seeking medical care.

Farooq Siddiqui, manager of Regency Travel & Tours in Qatar, said the medical tourism industry in Thailand has much room to grow with Middle Eastern patients.

"Medical treatment in Thailand costs about 50% less than in Europe," Mr Siddiqui said. Current numbers show about a third of Qataris looking for medical care abroad are coming to Thailand, with the rest going to Germany, the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe.

Mr Siddiqui added that rich Qataris like to have a medical check-up in Bangkok and stay at the JW Marriott Hotel, which offers a special rate for medical tourism clients. For its part, Bumrungrad International Hospital, also in Bangkok, reported 125,000 Arab patients last year alone.

Given Pattaya now has excellent private facilities in place, the Pattaya Times newspaper looks forward to reporting further on the advent of medical tourists in Pattaya.

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