With Covid-era travel restrictions now relaxed, Thailand is once again underlining its reputation in the medical field by drawing in visitors wanting to benefit from the country’s natural attractions while also taking care of their medical problems. But while visitors are returning, analysts predict the industry will not rebound significantly until 2023 when touristnumbers really pick up.
‼️ Moving in the right direction
An analysis report from Compass, a research house under Krungthai Bank, said Thailand’s medical tourism sectoris recovering from setbacks caused by the impacts of Covid-19 and especially from the now-cancelled Thailand Pass scheme.
A surge in foreign tourists flooding into Thailand over the past few months has improved footfalls at private hospitals and given a promising outlook to the country’s medical tourism industry.
According to news reports, more than 3.1 million foreign tourists arrived the country in October, a rise of more than43% over September.
Krungthai analyst Sujitra Unno said in an article published online that private hospitals’ footfalls improved significantly between January and June 2022, contributing to the recovery of the medical tourism sector.
She cited a report that sees 24 SET-listed private hospital service providers enjoying revenue and profit growth in the first quarter of 2022 when compared to the same period of the previous year.
According to her, the hospitals’ total revenues increased 48.9% year-over-year (YoY) to over 125 billion baht in the first quarter of 2022 and their net profits grew by 173.8% YoY to over 24 billion baht. The growth was mainly attributed torevenues from Thai patients who sought medical treatment for Covid-19 infections.
The research center predicted the private hospital business will continue to expand by 19.8% YoY in 2023, which will help boost the country’s medical tourism business as well as total foreign patient revenue which, pre-Covid, accounted for about 30% of the total.
During Covid, private hospitals, particularly large hospital chains reliant on revenue from foreign patients, fell significantly. This is confirmed in a report by Kasikorn Research Center, which noted that the number of medical tourist arrivals declined by some 90% in 2021, with visitors from the Middle East, ASEAN countries and China making up the majority of those forced to delay hospital consultations.
‼️“We expect that next year, many private hospitals in Thailand will see their patients from China, Russia, Japan and the Middle East coming back to receive treatment services,” Sujitra said. ‼️