Thailand weighing 90-day stays for U.S. medical tourists

Thailand’s Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said last week he is considering a recommendation to permit 90-day visa-free stays to medical tourists from the United States and Japan so they can more easily avail themselves of Thailand’s top-quality care and affordable prices.

Thailand is now a leading destination in Asia for medical tourism, and considering the size and potential of the markets in the U.S. and Japan, the proposal is likely to be approved. It would ease costs and requirements for American and Japanese medical visitors so they can enter the country and continue their treatments or recovery periods in the Kingdom without having to apply for a visa.

A U.S. magazine CEOWORLD recently rated the quality of Thailand’s medical services and care as the sixth-best in the world. The Kingdom can boast the largest number of JCI-accredited hospitals in the region. JCI accreditation is a global quality standard indicating that the medical facility is world-class.

Thailand’s medical tourism sector generated about $912 million in revenue last year, according to the Ministry of Public Health. The Medical Hub Policy Administration Committee was the government body that proposed granting a 90-day visa-free stay to Japanese and U.S. nationals.

Anutin said the proposal is intended to promote medical tourism as part of the government’s policy of developing Thailand into a medical hub.

Medical tourism in Thailand has been featured in reports on CNN and American television news magazine 60 Minutes, both of which praised the quality and cost of medical treatment and care in the Kingdom.

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