Medica Tourism magazine of Thailand goes online


BANGKOK, – The Publisher of MEDICA TOURISM magazine, Mr. Chatree Niramitvijit (KHUN Wong) also the head of the company’s Medical Travel Industry Improvement & Promotion Research Department recently announced the launch of the magazine’s website second of many projects to highlight Thailand’s reputation as a prime destination for medical travel.

Mr. Chatree Niramitvijit said the Research Department has been publishing MEDICA TOURISM, the monthly magazine that supports the government’s efforts in promoting Thailand’s medical travel industry. The Research Department has been publishing the magazine and serves as a media watchdog for Thailand’s medical tourism industry for a year now.

An early start in transgender surgery placed Thailand at the forefront of the international medical travel market industry in Asia, with revenues growing at a double-digit rate. However, Thailand’s predominance in the billion-dollar market is being challenged by Singapore, Malaysia, India and the Philippines, says the US-based Global Healthcare Association.

“Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, India and the Philippines are major destinations in the Asian medical tourism market. Thailand is more popular among Western European medical tourists for cosmetic surgery. Singapore and India specialize in complex procedures with India having a cost advantage and Singapore a technology advantage,” says the 2009 Medical Tourism Market Report recently issued by Koncept Analytic.

As part of the Research Department long –range program, he is in consulting with the Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand to ensure effective inter-agency communication, said Mr. Niramitvijit, a retired professional with a career comprising media companies such as the Bangkok Post, The Nation, Reader’s Digest, and Sing Sian Yit Pao . The Thai Premier’s strong commitment to the Thai medical travel industry is evident in Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva’s statements recently delivered in Japan, London, China, Saudi Arabia and Davos.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is highlighting medical tourism to revive Thailand’s tourism industry during his personal visits and road shows at various countries around the world. He underscored the measures taken by his government such as waiving visa fees, reducing aircraft take-off and landing charges, lowering entrance fees to national parks and providing travel insurance for foreign visitors.

The Premier has recently visited Suvarnabhumi airport to stamp out problems which “causing immeasurable harm to the tourism industry” is including pick-pocketing, extortion of tourists, dishonest taxi drivers, unlicensed tour guides and luggage theft. Within that week, 205 unlicensed taxi drivers and tour guides had been arrested and fined for operating illegally at the airport. The two companies handling passenger luggage checking and transport at the airport are instituting measures to prevent luggage theft.

“The government is also working on diversifying our tourism industry so that tourists can enjoy cultural excursions while, at the same time, being able to pursue other activities like spas, sports, medical check-ups and eco-tourism,” said Prime Minister Vejjajiva in a speech in Beijing in June last year.

Statistics released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand shows that visitor arrivals went up this year compared to the same period last year. Thailand’s tourist industry earns some 540 billion baht (about 15.4 million US$) each year, comprising over 6 percent of Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) and employing over 7 percent of its work force.

In 2010 “we will welcome 14.5 million visitors and earned almost 15 billion USD in foreign exchange,” said T.A.T. Governor in a speech in Bangkok recently. “We are developing standards for tourism-related businesses and showcasing Thailand as a world-class tourism hub, a centre for international conferences and medical tourism,” he said.

“Thailand has always attached great importance to the tourism industry, and in June last year, in the wake of the decline in global travels, the government declared tourism one of our national agenda,” The Prime Minister said in a speech in China. The Thai government is also promoting medical tourism in the UAE, which already draws thousands of Arab patients to the country.

“For frequent visitors of Thailand, I am sure that there will always be new and exciting destinations waiting for you to visit. Thailand is globally-considered to be a peaceful and friendly country, with a gentle culture that welcomes visitors. We take great pride in our hospitality, so please come and discover the fascinating way of life and culture of Thailand, and let us make your visit a most memorable occasion.”

Thailand, together with India and Singapore, currently dominate Asia’s medical travel market with a combined market share of around 90% says India is predicted to become Thailand’s biggest competitor, with the potential to capture up to 25% of the region’s medical travel market by 2012. The Philippines, South Korea and the Medical City in the UAE are part of this growing market.

The Research Department’s move to energize Thailand’s hospital PR practitioners is strategic, says Publisher Mr. Niramitvijit. “They have information potential which is lying dormant,” he said.

The recently taking over of 8 hospitals in Thailand by BDMS group in a 4.3 billion us$ deal has turned the BDMS hospital Group into the second largest hospital group in Asia-Pacific with a total of 27 hospitals. The acquisition will also turn the Group into a top regional player in medical tourism industry.

The medical tourism industry in Thailand grew rapidly in recent years, more than the country’s GDP. Aside from being a much more popular tourist destination, medical costs in Thailand are lower than in Singapore. Health care service prices in Thailand are five times less than in the US.

The medical travel sector is one of the few areas of the Asian market that continued growing throughout the global financial crisis. The market is driven by globalization, competitive health care service costs and treatments not available elsewhere – a combination that that attracts patients worldwide. Revenue forecast for the Asian medical travel industry is at least 14% growth over the next four years.

Author / Source

Asian Publication Company


Bangkok, Thailand


[email protected]

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