Phuket hopes new cosmetic surgery facility will revive medical tourism


A key attraction in Bangkok Hospital Group's purchase of Phuket International Hospital last year was the hospital’s cosmetic surgery business. The hospital has just opened a 900 million baht medical tourism facility to focus on cosmetic surgery with 10 operating theatres and 70 patient rooms. Though 2014 was a strong year, the hospital has seen a 25% decline in patient numbers in 2015, driving the group to look for new markets.

Phuket International Hospital’s original medical tourism market was Americans seeking sex changes. Phuket is often referred to as the world capital of sex changes. This market has diminished and medical tourists from Australia and New Zealand have replaced Americans, for all types of treatment.

Phuket is a key medical tourism destination and the hospital aims to target new markets including Myanmar. The Chinese market is Phuket’s largest in-bound tourism market, most Chinese going to Thailand are not interested in surgery or cosmetic surgery- but wellness, anti-aging and skin treatment packages.

So while the government claims that the incidents in Bangkok have not affected medical tourism, hospital groups are admitting that it, plus the fall in outbound Russian and Chinese tourism, has hit cosmetic surgery and medical tourism numbers significantly.



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