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25 Mar 2016


Medical Tourism Growth Continues; Private Hospitals to Get More Foreign Patients (Current Issue No. 2721 Full Ed.)

In 2014-2015, domestic purchasing power dropped, affecting private hospital revenues, especially those with mostly Thai patients. As a result, average revenue growth at private hospitals catering to mainly Thai patients was only 7.0 percent (2014-2015). On a contrary, revenue growth of private hospitals with foreign patients equaled 11.7 percent (2014-2015), thus beating the growth averaging 11.0 percent at all private hospitals (2014-2015), as earnings from international patients rose 15.1 percent (2014-2015). This indicates that patients from abroad are significant drivers for private hospital, thus capturing that segment is deemed helpful towards higher growth than the overall market performance.
KResearch has assessed that medical tourism will have a major role in generating revenue at private hospitals, given that their earnings from international patients rose from 25 percent of total revenues in 2011 to more than 30 percent in 2015. This trend is expected to persist as medical tourism is becoming popular among global travelers. Joint marketing campaigns between government agencies and Thailand's private hospitals, plus the official launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 should attract more of medical tourists here.
In order for private hospitals to expand their medical tourism clientele, KResearch is of the view that they should consider Myanmar and the Middle East as attractive markets with promising potential. Some private hospitals, which previously did not seek international patients but now feel the need to attract this segment, may face intense competition against existing prominent key players. Therefore, to attract customers from Myanmar and the Middle East, they should promote their remarkable quality and uniqueness, e.g., by making known of new technology adopted at their facilities, publicizing their expertise in specific areas for the elderly and/or children, etc.

Moreover, private hospitals may expand their medical tourism market base into other emerging markets with high potential, such as China and some ASEAN members (e.g., Vietnam and Indonesia), which constitute a massive market because their public health facilities in some cases do not adequately accommodate domestic needs. Consequently, some of their citizens with high purchasing power go abroad for medical treatments, and Thailand is an interesting destination for them. Nonetheless, private hospitals may need to adjust, engage in newer marketing strategies and provide services tailored to the needs of people from different countries.

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