How Local Clinics Attract International Patients, Bangkok Remains Top Medical Tourism Destination
Bangkok (Thailand) – December 28, 2019 (travelindex.com) – As vivid blue seas, glistening golden temples, and flavorful dishes continue to draw tourists to the exotic, culture-rich paradise that is Thailand, these recent years have seen the country emerge as a global beauty and medical tourism hub. World-famous shopping and nightlife destination Bangkok, in particular, is known for its JCI-standard hospitals and cost-efficient clinics offering state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures by internationally trained physicians. A report by the Global Wellness Institute stated that in 2017, Thailand had the 2nd highest number of inbound international wellness travellers in the Asia-Pacific region, and ranked 13th on the list of the Top Twenty Wellness Tourism Markets Worldwide.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the country received approximately 3.42 million visitors for health and wellness, generating an estimated income of USD 4.6 billion in 2018. The main source markets are Myanmar, Lao PDR., Cambodia, Vietnam, China, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia and New Zealand, with an average length of stay of 10-14 days. “Although there is fierce competition in the health and wellness (tourism) sector, Thailand is still a popular destination due to the high quality of our products, services and facilities, as well as other factors; such as, value for money, personalised care and good holiday opportunities for family members,” said Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Deputy Governor for Europe Africa Middle East and the Americas of the Tourism Authority of Thailand,in August 2019.
According to figures reported in The Nation in 2017, Thailand attracts over half a million medical tourists annually from Southeast Asian countries alone. Some experts believe that even if international demands decline, the well-to-do population of neighboring countries with less advanced medical technology such as Myanmar will continue to seek healthcare and beauty procedures in Thailand. As luxury travellers are seeking for personalization and intimacy, healthcare giants such as Bumrungrad International Hospital are no longer the only preferred providers for medical tourists, especially in the aesthetic medicine sector. What does this mean for boutique clinics and smaller, private-owned medical centers? Opportunity.
Niche clinics with highly accessible locations like dermatological laser specialist Dr.TATTOF have noticed an influx of patients from the Middle East and Asia including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV), who make reservations mostly for SculpSure, a non-surgical liposuction that removes up to 24% of stubborn fat in one area after one treatment. Tourists who visit Thailand for a few months at a time also show interest in the clinic’s scar and tattoo removal procedures using PicoWay Resolve and PicoWay, which is what the Dr.TATTOF brand is known for amongst Thai people. The brand is working with a few select travel agents to reach more international patients, and have organized cross-cultural training for their staff in order to serve these patients better.
“Transparency, sincerity and service-mindedness is one of the most important values to have when working in the aesthetic medical industry,” said Pongsaya Trachunit, General Manager of the clinic chain. “Those traits coupled with good English skills and understanding of different cultural backgrounds will make clinics competitive in the international market. Since we are here to solve each patient’s unique problems, to help improve confidence and increase happiness, maintaining the highest standard of quality in every clinic is vital. By using only USFDA-cleared equipment, hiring experienced dermatologists, and intensively training every staff, we ensure that no matter which clinic of ours the patient visits, they receive the same level of service.”
As for the current trends in aesthetic medicine in Thailand, plastic surgery especially rhinoplasty is popular amongst teenagers coming of age and young adults of all genders and backgrounds. Health awareness is also increasing, and urbanized Thais are seeking different ways to not only improve their wellbeing but also their bikini bodies. For working-aged women, it is the usual concern of excess fat and sagging skin, especially after childbirth. Tummy tucks, mesotherapy, fat freezing, and laser treatments with no recovery time like SculpSure and Gentle-YAG Pro-U can effectively address these concerns which sometimes cannot be solved by healthy diet and exercise alone. The last method is surprisingly a common choice amongst those who are already active such as male bodybuilders and the less extreme, regular gym goers. Appearance matters, and the Thais seem to really know it.
In order to thrive in a saturated market like Bangkok, differentiating one’s business with strong branding and innovation is key. After Dr. Nattapong Jirurawong took over his father’s business, one of the oldest and most reputable skin clinics in Chonburi, he found a niche sub-group in Thailand—the demand for safe and effective tattoo removal—and formed the Dr.TATTOF brand, moving on to being the first medical provider in Thailand to treat patients with US-imported and FDA-approved PicoWay. Five clinics later, the dermatological laser specialist is now offering a new and improved treatment option for those with scars and stretch marks. MyCELL by Dr.TATTOF will be the first set of treatments in Southeast Asia to utilize autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in conjunction with PicoWay Resolve laser to completely heal scars and stretch marks nearly twice as fast as the usual method.
For more information on this new treatment, visit or call +66-99-614-2424