Sunday, 16 July 2017

Government Stresses Its Policy on Medical and Wellness Tourism Hub

Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn has emphasized the Government’s policy of developing Thailand as a medical and wellness tourism hub. The Government also provides CLMV citizens with visa-exempt entry for medical treatment in Thailand.

General Tanasak said that, in order to develop Thailand into an international medical hub, the Government has been enhancing the potential of hospitals and health centers at all levels, so that their medical services would be upgraded to accepted standards.

The policy is included in a strategic plan to be carried out in stages for a period of 10 years, from 2017 to 2026. The objectives are to elevate the country’s clinical services to meet international standards and to facilitate travel to Thailand for health care. This strategy also seeks to build health service capacity and develop Thai traditional and alternative medicine services.

The number of foreign visitors seeking medical services in Thailand is on the rise. Modern facilities and equipment, as well as internationally qualified doctors, nurses, and technical staff, have attracted international visitor arrivals for health services here. However, many foreigners have faced problems with the period granted on their visa when traveling to Thailand for medical care.

In order to ease this problem, the Government decided to extend the duration of the permission-to-stay in Thailand to 90 days for patients from CLMV countries, comprising Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and from the People’s Republic of China. The extension also covers up to four accompanying persons.

The Government has also extended the long-stay visa from one year to 10 years, with the first permission-to-stay of five years, and extendable for an additional five years. Eligible foreign senior tourists must be 50 years old and over.

The extension of the long-stay visa is offered for tourists from 14 countries, namely Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Over two million foreign patients are treated in Thailand each year and a large number of local hospitals are internationally accredited. The Government has included "medical and wellness tourism” in the 10 target industries to be given a major boost as new engines of growth, under the "Thailand 4.0” policy.

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