Connect with us

Business

Building a medical tourism hub

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Phuket has the potential to become a leading regional hub for medical tourism, an industry that is well positioned for exponential growth primarily led by the demand for aesthetic treatments. Investment opportunities in medical facilities and premises are increasingly attractive amid the backdrop of a global economic slowdown.

Despite the diminishing legacy market for ‘Gender Reassignment’ Surgery (GRS), more commonly known as Sex Change Operations, the market has continued to flourish by focusing on the global movement for beauty enhancement. Mergers and acquisition activity is high in Thailand’s medical sector, seeking to develop quality centers and facilities to cope with increasing demand from the growing Asian middle-class and a broader international audience.

Currently, the island’s major existing medical institutions include Phuket International Hospital (PIH) and Bangkok Phuket Hospital (BPH), while on the wellness side there are the Thanyapura Integrative Health Center, Dr Orawan, and the Radiant Medical Clinic among a growing list of new arrivals.

With Phuket’s high growth over the last decade, existing facilities have had a hard time coping with demand and now Australians and Chinese are beginning to consume more of the products and services of these medical institutions.

Nearly half of the medical tourists to Phuket come for cosmetic operations such as breast augmentation, which is the most popular procedure offered. These operations attracted more than 15,000 patients over the past five years at major hospitals. Recently, there is a surge in demand for anti-aging treatment driven by the influx of female patients from Mainland China. The number of medical tourist arrivals is rising consistently at an annual rate of over twenty per cent in recent years. The gloom surrounding the global economy has not altered the growth trajectory of the industry.

According to the findings presented in C9 Hotelworks’ recent Phuket Medical Tourism Market report, Australia has become the top nationality, making up close to half of all patients in the market and 70 per cent of cosmetic surgery clients. In light of the large number of appointment cancellations triggered by the Australian Dollar (AUD) to Thai Baht devaluation in 2015, we may see some shifts in geographic segments in 2016.

Competitive pricing is a significant advantage for Phuket in attracting travellers worldwide. The average expenditure per cosmetic surgery patient amounts to THB150,000 while the average spend on anti-aging treatments is about 80,000 baht in Phuket. These price points are attractive to the quality-conscious, yet price-sensitive visitors.

Most hospitals and clinics work with medical tour agents to promote packages that include treatment and holiday, thereby enhancing the island’s appeal to international patients.

The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will in part catalyze intra-ASEAN cross-border investments. Healthcare services in many ASEAN countries will not be able to serve the needs of their rising middle-class populations. Therefore, more consumers from these countries, especially neighboring Vietnam and Myanmar, are expected to come to Phuket

Expanding market demand for aesthetic treatments is expected to lead the way for more investment in the medical industry. However, as the competition intensifies, it will trigger the development of non-aesthetic medical service segments such as disease treatments, with more hospitals and clinics venturing into this area to diversify their businesses and gain a competitive edge, further enhancing Phuket’s appeal as a medical hub.

Today’s wave of investment is just one of the trends enabling the market’s evolution. Beside the opportunities in green-field and brown-field projects across the industry, we are seeing significant convergence across different industry sectors. Medical institutions venturing into providing quality recuperation accommodations to patients, and similarly hotel groups investing in healthcare services, will blur the lines between medical service providers and facilities owners.

Bill Barnett is the Founder and Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks (C9Hotelworks.com), a leading Thailand-based hospitality and real estate consulting firm.

— Bill Barnett

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video4 hours ago

Timeline of the mass shooting in Thailand

Crime6 hours ago

Finnish CEO detained for alleged mistreatment of 1,100 Thai berry pickers

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No drugs detected in system of daycare center killer

Sponsored14 hours ago

5 reasons why Thailand educators shouldn’t miss Bett Asia in Bangkok this year

Myanmar6 hours ago

Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai woman & foreign men charged for child sex trafficking in Pattaya

Guides6 hours ago

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand7 hours ago

Love rat Thai soldier threaten’s Israeli husband of adulterous wife

Best of7 hours ago

Outstanding halal restaurants in Bangkok

Pattaya7 hours ago

Pattaya dwellers want public restrooms built faster at pier

Thailand7 hours ago

No Buddhist temples willing to cremate body of daycare centre killer

Phuket8 hours ago

AI upgrade planned for pier in Phuket

Medical8 hours ago

When snakes strike, why not call for the chicken-ass squad?

Crime8 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

Thailand8 hours ago

Woman’s body in suitcase identified as Lao millionaire

Crime9 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand raises questions on gun control

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending