Health & Wellness

The Land of Smiles is a leader in medical and wellness tourism

With global medical tourism growing by an estimated 25 percent a year, patients willing to travel are spoiled for choice when choosing the best destination for hospital and health services. Few countries can compete, however, with the Kingdom of Thailand.

Many among Thailand’s corps of medical professionals have been educated in the United States, Australia, Great Britain and other advanced nations, even as the Kingdom’s own top medical school at Mahidol University has emerged as the strongest institute of higher learning in the country. For those who want to know more about the quality of care in Thailand, patients can choose from 61 hospitals across the country that have received the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission International, the global leader in assessing standards at hospital worldwide.

“The largest private hospital in Southeast Asia, Bumrungrad is the unofficial leader of medical tourism in Thailand, itself the most popular destination for medical travellers in the world,’’ wrote Steve Finch on the U.S. National Institutes of Health website in 2014.

Patients receiving medical care in Thailand can expect tremendous savings compared to what they would pay in the West, especially in the U.S. Patients Beyond Borders, a U.S. patients’ advocacy group and source of consumer information about international medical and health travel, estimated average savings on medical costs of between 50 percent and 75 percent for American patients in Thailand.

But it takes more than just cost savings to make a country a top medical tourism destination. Among the attributes top destinations should have, according to Patients Beyond Borders, are a demonstrable commitment to international accreditation, quality and transparency of outcomes; sustained reputation for clinical excellence; successful adoption of best practices and state-of-the-art medical technology; availability of internationally-trained, experienced medical staff; and excellent tourism infrastructure.

Thailand scores high in all of those areas. And when it comes to bedside manner and a caring attitude, no country can compare to the Land of Smiles, as Thailand is known worldwide. Combine that with the technology, training and cost savings patients can find, and it’s no mystery why Thailand is a leader in medical tourism and healthcare.

For more information about the Thai hospitals and clinics, please visit the Joint Commission International Accredited Organizations in Thailand  and the Health Tourism to Thailand

Joint Commission International Medical Tourism Association World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress 


As global spa tourism booms, Thailand reaps the rewards

Thailand is sometimes portrayed as a non-stop party destination for intoxicated youths in Hollywood films such as The Hangover and The Beach. But increasing numbers of tourists are coming to Thailand for the exact opposite experience, an experience at which the Kingdom, with its centuries-old traditions, excels: wellness.

Dubbed Asia’s Spa Capital by the Asia Spa Awards in 2015, Thailand’s health and wellness tourism has been expanding as a part of its overall tourism industry. Health and wellness tourism was forecast to grow by 10 percent in 2017, after reeling in over $1.25 billion in revenues in 2016. Thailand was voted the World’s Best Spa Destination in 2015 at the World Spa Awards.

At the most recent World Spa Awards, one Thailand-based international hotel chain, Anantara, took home 12 awards and was named the World’s Best Hotel Spa Brand. But Anantara is far from the only Thai spa that has garnered international recognition and awards. Chiva Som in Hua Hin has been revitalizing the health and wellness of locals and travelers alike for decades, and its training program has been producing a corps of wellness experts working at top spas worldwide. And other Thai spas, especially boutique spas, are quickly gaining a sterling reputation.

Globally, the spa industry is one of the fast growing segments of tourism, according to Lonely Planet, the publisher of global travel guides, which said that wellness tourism is forecast to grow by 10 percent this year. The United States-based Global Wellness Institute has forecast that the global spa industry will reach $1.69 trillion by 2020.

“There are so many new combinations of travel destinations that focus on … ‘healthy’ experiences – that appeal to both men and women and come at much more affordable price-points,” said Susie Ellis, CEO of the Global Wellness Institute.

The Asia-Pacific leads the world in total number of spas, and treatments in Asia-Pacific are significantly more affordable than in most other regions. Within spa and wellness tourism: “Thailand is a key market in the Asia-Pacific and is a hot destination,” according to a report by U.S.-based Orbis Research.

“Rising disposable income in emerging economies continues to be the main driver of spa tourism, supported by hectic lifestyles and work pressures, which drive the need to de-stress,’’ Orbis wrote.

And with the numbers of tourists traveling to Thailand for spa treatments, detox and cleansing regimens, and even meditation and mindfulness retreats, the Kingdom’s wellness industry can expect to remain healthy for a very long time to come.



Images courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand NA and