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Phuket Gazette: Thai ‘wellness tourism’ to scoop up 350bn baht: TAT

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The Thai government is projecting that the healthcare sector will earn a total of 350 billion baht (US$11.5bn), contributing much to the government target of becoming a “World Class Health Provider” by 2014.

The projection covers the period of a five-year campaign from 2010 to 2014.

The strategy follows Thailand being dubbed the “Spa Capital of Asia” in 2008, and has involved promoting a holistic collection of curative medical treatments, preventive spa and wellness services, and sales of herbal products and other supplies for the global health and wellness industry, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in a press release.

The five-year projection has been broken down into earning expectations for medical treatments (US$8 billion), spa and wellness services (US$2.23 billion) and sales of products and supplies (US$1.3 billion).

Apichai Jearadisak, Advisor for the Federation of Thai Spa Associations, says Thailand already leads the regional spa market.

“With more than 1,200 registered spas, 400 of which are high-end luxury facilities, and all of them together employing some 25,000 professionally trained therapists, Thailand undoubtedly has a claim to call itself the ‘Spa Capital of Asia’,” he said.

Mr Apichai said there were many factors that make a Thai spa experience unique, including service-minded spa personnel, traditional Thai massage, spa therapies and recipes, high operational standards, and a broad range of multicultural spa concepts.

He added that Thai spas were working to upgrade the standards of their services and products, as well as the hygienic standards in the spas themselves.

Efforts were also being made to improve the quality of their communications and marketing, he said.

On the medical side, Dr Prapa Wongphaet, President of the Thailand Medical Tourism Cluster, said, “There are more than 30 international accredited hospitals in Bangkok and various tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and elsewhere.”

She said two leading Bangkok hospitals are already well known for their ability to serve medical tourists from Middle Eastern countries.

Dr Prapa, who also chairs the Health Services Business Committee of the Board of Trade said, “Thailand could offer a complete combination of advanced medical treatments and other health related services, plus a good vacation.

“The most popular are health vacations, anti-aging vacations, beauty vacations, spa vacations and more mind-body wellness vacations. The most favorite ancillary services are dental treatments and dental cosmetics, medical check ups, aesthetic skin treatments, body shape-up treatments, weight management programs and lifestyle modification programs.”

Dr Prapa said that more than 200 private and public hospitals have received the Hospital Accreditation Certificate issued by the Healthcare Accreditation Institute, a public organization.

“Today, it seems that Thailand has the most JCI accredited hospitals in Asia,” she said.

She said that since 2010, the Thailand Medical Tourism Cluster concept has involved the collaboration of five government agencies and five leading business associations to support all aspects of medical and health and wellness tourism to Thailand.

For more information about medical tourism in Thailand, see www.ThailandMedTourism.com and www.thailandmedicaltourismcluster.org

 

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