Green shoots for medical tourism to Thailand

Although Thailand has extended a state of emergency until the end of August, it is still allowing in medical tourists.  Despite strict COVID-19 protection requirements, 2,700 people have now registered for the medical tourism and wellness programmes.

Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced earlier this month that it has allowed Thailand’s medical tourism and wellness programmes to go ahead and the first group of medical and wellness tourists will land next month.

The CCSA has  now reported that 2,700 people have registered for the programmes, of which 300 are from China including many couples seeking IVF treatment.1,200 of 34 nationalities are medical and health tourists with 1,500 accompanying family members. Countries include Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The numbers are significant in medial travellers’ determination to come to Thailand. The new medical and wellness programme means facing three coronavirus tests, two weeks of quarantine and 500,000 baht (US$15,800) in costs just to enter the country. Treatment and other costs are extra.  Travellers must have travel health insurance that also covers COVID-19.

Thailand has 85 private hospitals and clinics signed up to accept foreign tourists under the medical programme.

Phuket is proposing a medical tourism plan, with a budget of 3 billion baht (US$95m). The project will be on Hat Mai Khao Beach, one of the most picturesque beaches in the resort province.

This is still in discussion stage with the Public Health Ministry and the Tourism Ministry before it can be submitted to cabinet for consideration.

The plan is to promote medical tourism in Phuket. In the first phase of the project, four medical facilities will be established including an international health plaza, a premium long-term care centre for the elderly, a hospice care centre for terminally ill patients, and a comprehensive rehabilitation centre. With a budget of 1.29 billion baht, the first phase of the project is to be completed in September 2021. One-stop services such as consular, accommodation and tour services will be available at the project site on Mai Khao Beach on the northern part of the island.
The second phase of the project has been scheduled for 2022 under a budget of 1.67 billion baht. This phase will focus on the prevention pandemics in the future. A cancer treatment centre with radiation therapy machines and comprehensive care will be established during this phase.