Thailand medical tourism back on track

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has told tour operators that Thailand tourism and medical tourism are back to normal following political clashes that took place in May. The country has welcomed 10 million tourists for the first eight months of 2010, a 30% increase over 2009.

TAT has launched its e-marketing campaign for medical tourism in Thailand. Suraphon Svetasreni of TAT said, “The online campaign will boost the number of medical tourists as well as increase the average time they stay in Thailand. And this will help other tourism related businesses, such as hotels, spas, and restaurants. It will benefit all the tourism industry and follow the Thai government’s strategy of promoting Thailand as the medical hub of Asia.”

TAT has just launched “Healthy Beauty Holiday in Thailand”. This sales promotion offers exclusive rates for dental treatments, Lasik corrective surgery, cosmetic surgery, holistic and anti-aging treatments, and medical check ups. For this campaign, TAT has joined with partners including Royal Orchid Plus, which offers 1000 mileage bonus points when booking medical services under the campaign. Websites are also taking part, including Asia Web Direct and Phuket Hotels and Travel Guide. December sees the launch of a “You are in Good Hands” campaign to emphasize the credibility and safety of medical services offered in Thailand.

TAT has chosen the 12 finalists of the Thailand medical tourism blog contest that attracted 219 applicants from 24 countries. The 12 finalists, selected on reputable profiles relevant to tourism and medical tourism, will compete in the final round in Thailand.
Throughout their seven-day stay in Thailand, TAT has arranged visits for the 12 final contestants to over 50 health and tourist establishments, ranging from hospitals and clinics to spas in six destinations: Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Samui and Hua Hin. And they will get to experience a variety of Thailand’s medical and wellness services, including medical check-ups, dentistry, skin laser treatments, botox courses and health spas. The 12 Finalists will then submit their blogs promoting medical tourism in Thailand referring to their experiences during the seven days. The blog with the most votes during the two-month voting period will win an assortment of prizes worth up to US$ 20,000.

The 12 Finalists come from the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. Sansern Ngaorungsi of TAT explains, “From our research into the web blogs on tourism and medical tourism, there were few that mentioned Thailand and the services we offer. This meant medical tourists were not able to access information on Thailand’s comprehensive healthcare and tourism offerings. So we decided to launch this promotional campaign to encourage bloggers to write about their experiences in Thailand as medical tourists and serve as sources of reliable information for potential medical tourists around the globe. This campaign aims to create awareness and increase online information and on medical tourism in Thailand to make it more readily accessible. It will also serve to inspire confidence in the standards and quality of Thai medical tourism.”