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Thailand is Asia’s hottest destination for medical, spa tourism

5 May, 2007

Thailand is fast becoming a preferred destination in Asia for medical and wellness tourism, in addition to its other attractions, as an increasing number of foreigners are seeking treatment in the country.

Medical tourism and spa are among Thailand’s major attractions, says Yearayong Chairut, assistant executive director in the Product Promotion Department of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). She claims that the medical facilities the country offers are of high standard and quality.

The recorded number of tourists and the income generated by the tourism sector are expected to rise every year as more medical reasons keep tourists visiting Thailand for services, including surgical procedures.

According to Dr Kamol Wattanakrai, Secretary-General of the Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Thailand, the country’s surgeons have proven their outstanding performance. Besides the lower cost of medical services, the tourists get the chance of travelling and shopping and their total expenses in Thailand would be far less than what they have to pay if they go to Europe or the United States, Dr Wattanakrai says.

The private hospitals in Thailand are staffed by highly qualified medical staff and equipped with the latest technology. There are a good number of doctors trained overseas and specialists as well as multilingual staff to ensure that there are no communication barriers, adds Dr Wattanakrai.

Many private hospitals have set up partnerships with first-class hotels to enhance the standards of medical facilities.

Propping up Thailand’s medical and wellness sector is the spa business. The country’s spa industry, claims Dr Paiboon Pilan-owat, president of The Federation of Thai Spa, has long been recognised all over the world for its uniqueness and now it is a major contributor to the national economy.

The Thai Spa business, which offers an array of facilities ranging from the local herbs to spa products, has generated jobs for local people as well as good revenues for Thailand, Dr Paiboon adds.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) supports the Tourism Authority of Thailand in promoting Thailand as Asia’s medical and health tourism hub.

To keep up with the impressive growth which now averages over a million annual tourist arrivals and having recorded some 40 billion Baht per year from health tourism alone, the government and private sectors are joining hands in an aggressive campaign to support Proud Asia 2007, the 1st international trade exhibition & conference on medical tourism, spa & wellness industries on 27-30 September at the Hall 9, IMPACT Convention Center in Muangthong Thani.

As a preparation for Thailand to become Asia’s hub in medical and spa tourism, Proud Asia 2007 is expected to be the largest gathering of local and international exhibitors from all over the region and beyond. Some 300 exhibitors and 15,000 visitors from Singapore, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and Japan are expected to showcase the uniqueness of what their respective country has to offer in medical tourism, spa and wellness industries.




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