Thailand fears healthcare competition

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AHWM4.jpgAs the formation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) draws nearer to its 2015 deadline, Thailand will be forced to strengthen the competitiveness of its medical tourism industry if it is to continuing attract foreigners — GCC citizens in particular.

Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia pose imminent threats to Thailand, mostly because of either better English-speaking proficiency or by providing creature comforts such as halal food.

“In ASEAN, Malaysia is also a choice destination for overseas Muslims. We know many choose Malaysia,” Deputy Hospital Director of Bangkok Hospital Nithiwat Gijsriurai recently told journalists, as reported in the New Strait Times.

To muster the competitive edge needed to continue drawing tourists from the GCC market, Bangkok Hospital, one of the largest in Thailand, plans to upgrade its facilities and bring on more nurses and doctors to meet quality demand.

In addition, the Government of Thailand has slotted increased spending in the healthcare sector and proposed the hiring of Arabic-speaking doctors, nurses and even translators, a front that Bangkok Hospital has already begun.

“We have Thai doctors who can speak Arabic as well as Arabic translators and an Arabic wing in the hospital,” Nithiwat said.

The 600-million single market created in the formation of the AEC will undoubtedly stiffen competition, but ASEAN will nonetheless remain a hot spot for global medical tourism.

In comparison, plastic surgery in Thailand costs just $3,260 for a normal three-day operation —  a fraction of the cost in the US or Europe.

According to Thailand’s Ministry of Health, foreigners made over 2 million trips for medical services last year.

During the same year, the medical tourism industry grossed nearly $4 billion for Thailand.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the formation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) draws nearer to its 2015 deadline, Thailand will be forced to strengthen the competitiveness of its medical tourism industry if it is to continuing attract foreigners — GCC citizens in particular.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

AHWM4.jpgAs the formation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) draws nearer to its 2015 deadline, Thailand will be forced to strengthen the competitiveness of its medical tourism industry if it is to continuing attract foreigners — GCC citizens in particular.

Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia pose imminent threats to Thailand, mostly because of either better English-speaking proficiency or by providing creature comforts such as halal food.

“In ASEAN, Malaysia is also a choice destination for overseas Muslims. We know many choose Malaysia,” Deputy Hospital Director of Bangkok Hospital Nithiwat Gijsriurai recently told journalists, as reported in the New Strait Times.

To muster the competitive edge needed to continue drawing tourists from the GCC market, Bangkok Hospital, one of the largest in Thailand, plans to upgrade its facilities and bring on more nurses and doctors to meet quality demand.

In addition, the Government of Thailand has slotted increased spending in the healthcare sector and proposed the hiring of Arabic-speaking doctors, nurses and even translators, a front that Bangkok Hospital has already begun.

“We have Thai doctors who can speak Arabic as well as Arabic translators and an Arabic wing in the hospital,” Nithiwat said.

The 600-million single market created in the formation of the AEC will undoubtedly stiffen competition, but ASEAN will nonetheless remain a hot spot for global medical tourism.

In comparison, plastic surgery in Thailand costs just $3,260 for a normal three-day operation —  a fraction of the cost in the US or Europe.

According to Thailand’s Ministry of Health, foreigners made over 2 million trips for medical services last year.

During the same year, the medical tourism industry grossed nearly $4 billion for Thailand.

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