It is “a niche market that is becoming mainstream”
Reporting from the PATA Annual Summit in Bangkok last week, TTG Asia interviewed major players in Asia’s fast-growing medical tourism industry.
“It is a niche market that is becoming mainstream,” says Zadok S Lempert, president & CEO of Thailand-based Panorama-Medica Group. “Asia has been the preferred destination over the last decade due to high-quality, less expensive medical treatments.”
The distinction between medical tourists and leisure travellers is becoming blurred, leading to a new kind of global patient, comments Ralf Krewer, international marketing director at Bangkok Hospital. “Patients are behaving like consumers, seeking higher service levels and evaluating the total package, not just medical expertise.”
However, recent developments in the US may change medical tourism providers’ focus to Asia itself, with the phenomenal growth of the middle class.
“The US and Obamacare do not generate big opportunities for Asian hospitals. Real growth is not coming from the US but from the region within a seven-hour flight radius like Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia,” Kenneth Mays, marketing director at the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand, explains.
[pictured: Bangkok International Dental Clinic]