2017 decline in Middle East patients travelling for Thai treatment

Kasicorn Research Centre identifies a drop in patients from Middle Eastern countries, but expects medical tourists from Asia, China and Japan to fill the gap

Kasicorn Research Centre (KResearch), a subsidiary of Kasicorn Bank of Thailand, estimates that overall inbound tourism to Thailand in 2018 will earn THB 2 trillion income in 2018.

In 2018, inbound tourism to Thailand will continue to grow says the Centre, with the government and related agencies, including the private sector, planning tourism activities to attract international travellers. They have shifted toward new tourism markets focusing on niche campaigns to stimulate tourism activities and generate more hospitality related revenues.

KResearch anticipates the number of international tourists in 2018 to reach between 37.64 million – 37.99 million, up 7% on 2017.

One promising market identified is health and wellness tourism. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has moved away from promoting medical tourism to promoting health, wellness and spas, with their 2018 campaign is focusing on ‘Thai-ness’.

According to KResearch, in 2017 the number of patients from Middle Eastern countries visiting Thailand for medical treatment declined steadily, chiefly due to changes in their home country healthcare policies and improvements in the quality and standards of their public health systems. However, it is expected that more international patients from other regions, in particular Asia, China and Japan, will likely visit Thailand for medical treatment, thus helping to sustain the overall income from international patients.

Visit the IMTJ country report for an analysis of inbound medical tourism in Thailand.