Thailand’s cost-effective health options biggest draw for tourists


Revenue from Thailand’s health-related tourism sector is set to hit 310 billion baht this year, with projections indicating an increase to 760 billion baht by 2027.

In line with this, the country’s 400 private hospitals are working hard to enhance their capabilities in skill development and technology to meet international standards.

Thailand has emerged as an attractive destination for foreigners seeking affordable health and medical services, with private hospitals playing a key role in serving them.

Speaking at the inauguration of the “Medical Fair Thailand 2023” on September 13, Dr Chalerm Harnpanich, president of the Private Hospitals Association, said that medical tourism is the biggest contributor to the earnings of private hospitals.

The fair was held until September 15 at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Bitec).

Globally, the wellness tourism market is experiencing robust growth, expanding at an annual growth rate of 20% and is projected to be valued at US$7 trillion by 2025, as reported by the Global Wellness Institute.

Concurrently, Thailand’s medical industry, recognised as one of the 12 new S-curve industries, is also flourishing.

Though Singapore is a formidable competitor in the region, Thailand offers more cost-effective options.

The biggest customers for health and medical services come from the Middle East and Asean countries, mostly seeking treatment for heart disease and cancer.

Chinese patients, meanwhile, generally seek services related to anti-ageing, cosmetic surgery and fertility treatment. Foreign expats, mostly Europeans, Americans and Japanese, also rely on private hospitals in Thailand and contribute to the industry’s growth.