Strict tests required for inbound patients to Thailand

Thailand is welcoming back some medical and wellness tourists, but they must quarantine for 14 days, and test and pass three screenings. Thailand has set a new goal to become a global medical and wellness destination by 2024, aiming to attract international travellers and 1 million overseas Thais, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and a new slogan “Beyond Healthcare, Trust Thailand” has been launched.

The government will only allow foreign patients who have tested negative for Covid-19 to enter Thailand for treatment. All foreigners arriving for medical tourism are required to take three Covid-19 tests and enter a 14-day quarantine at a medical institution.

Incoming patients must travel to Thailand by air and can be accompanied by a maximum of three carers; both patients and carers must show that they have tested negative for Covid-19 with RT-PCR test. The test must be taken no less than 72 hours prior to travel, and all patients will be again screened for the novel coronavirus prior to receiving treatment.

After treatment patients will be required to stay at the hospital for an additional 14 days and tested for Covid-19. Both patients and carers will be required to download and use the government’s tracking application throughout their stay. Patients must present all required documents to be allowed in, which include proof of health insurance which also covers Covid-19 treatment expenses, financial statements to guarantee their ability to pay their medical expenses and a certificate or appointment letter from a hospital in Thailand.

As the pandemic raises awareness about healthcare and accelerates demand for preventive and regenerative medicine, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) sees an opportunity, particularly with the country’s reputation for medical services.

Thailand is setting a new goal to become a global medical and wellness destination by 2024, aiming to attract international travellers and 1 million overseas Thais, according to TAT.
To achieve this new goal in five years, the TAT will expand the target market to 1 million Thais living abroad after witnessing their difficulties in accessing medical services in other countries at a critical time.

The plan will consist of five campaigns:

  • The first is to provide telemedicine for overseas Thais under a partnership with the online platform for medical services, Doctor A to Z, and the Department of Consular Affairs. Online services are cheaper than seeing doctors in foreign countries and will provide Thais with better wellbeing support and attract more of them to return to seek additional medical services on home soil.
  • The second campaign is to enlist hotels as stakeholders in tapping medical and wellness tourists globally. TAT will encourage more hotels in Thailand to develop healthcare services on the property by collaborating with accredited hospitals to provide some types of medical or health treatments that do not need to take place at hospitals, such as general check-ups, ozone therapy, immunity boosters or chelation therapy. Hotels are another communication and distribution channel for publicising health services in Thailand. They can work with partner hospitals in giving preliminary consultations before guests travel to Thailand for medical packages.
  • The third campaign focuses on increasing market reach to various sources by creating a business-to-business online platform for health and wellness operators in Thailand and medical travel agents overseas.
  • The fourth campaign is to expand the government-to-government partnership to more countries, targeting civil servants who have state insurance.
  • The fifth campaign is to increase agents and media outreach, through the 29 TAT offices globally.

Nora Resorts and Hotels Group agrees that demand for health and wellness will strengthen after the pandemic. This is a key segment for boosting tourism in Koh Samui. 10% of the 600 hotels on the island are focused on health and wellness, but more will jump into this market to gain a new source of revenue.