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Phuket Business: Medical tours vital to economy

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Medical tourism in Phuket is flourishing and contributing greatly to the local economy, a representative from one of Phuket’s major international hospitals has said.

Speaking exclusively with the Phuket Gazette, Peter Davidson, assistant manager of international services at Phuket International Hospital, said that “the number of people coming to Phuket for dental work and plastic surgery continues to expand dramatically”.

Mr Davidson estimated that between the island’s top two international hospitals – Bangkok Hospital Phuket and Phuket International Hospital – at least 20,000 rooms are being booked annually by international tourists coming to Phuket specifically to do plastic surgery and dental work.

“Most of these medical tourists will stay here between 10 to 14 days on average. They come first to do their plastic surgery procedure, and then they book into a hotel.

“While they’re recovering and waiting for their final follow-up, they go on tours and spend lots of money, which directly benefits the economy.

The numbers are indeed significant, and continuing to expand, Mr Davidson noted.

“Each medical tourist spends between 100 to 300 thousand baht on their procedure and at least another 30,000 to 50,000 baht on accommodations. This is in addition to their daily spending of about 3,000 to 4,000 baht per day on shopping, new clothing, food and other essentials.

Asked about the level of competition from the growing number of private clinics located in Phuket, Mr Davidson said, “We don’t think there is much competition. Most tourists coming to Phuket specifically for major medical procedure are more likely to book into one of the major hospitals.

“Some of the small clinics you find in Phuket, such as those in shopping malls like Jungceylon and Central Festival, [just] do basic procedures such as botox.

“People don’t fly in from Australia or elsewhere and book a holiday just for small skin work.

“The dental [sector] is a little bit different, as there are a number of clinics spread around the island.

“However, I still believe that the two main hospitals are the biggest service providers [to international medical tourists].

“I think the main reason for this is that we are able to secure more international clients with reliable communications and can offer convenient and reliable booking procedures.

“We work with a number of partner hotels and tour agents around the island.

“Also, we have offshore agents based in Australia, Europe, the US and other places, who supply a large number of our clients. A lot of the smaller clinics don’t have this capacity.”

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

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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