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The increasing growth of medical tourism has led the industry to become a global economic phenomenon. Many countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand's neighbouring countries of Malaysia and Singapore, are seeking to compete in the medical tourism business due to the immense economic benefits that can be created. Thailand holds numerous competitive advantages over rival destinations, but it is widely believed that for Thailand to become a leading medical tourism hub in the ASEAN region, the country needs to strengthen and boost its operations and marketing in order to attract significantly more medical tourists, and ultimately gain a larger share of the developing medical tourism market. This article presents an analysis of the opportunities and challenges that ill arise in developing Thailand as a leading medical tourism destination in the ASEAN region.
Factors generating competitive advantages for Thailand are price benefits, medical expertise, a range of tourism products, Thai-style hospitality, a well-established infrastructure and government support in marketing, which provide great opportunities for Thailand. However, there are several challenges facing Thailand, including the risk of medical malpractice, the shortage of physicians and medical staff, insufficient government involvement and cultural and language barriers.
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