The Thai Medical Tourism Supply Chain: Its Stakeholders, Their Collaboration and Information Exchange

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Laddawan Kaewkitipong

Abstract

Medical tourism makes a significant contribution to many countries’economies, including that of Thailand. Theoretically, to increase competitiveness of the whole industry, efficient management of the supply chain is key. Therefore, this study investigates the Thai medical tourism supply chain; it attempts to understand who the key stakeholders are, how they collaborate, and how data and information flow along the supply chain. In-depth interviews were conducted with 54 stakeholders in the industry, including medical service providers, hotels, travel agents, and other collaborating institutions, to gain thorough understanding and insights into the industry. By providing a clearer picture of the Thai medical tourism supply chain, this study points out a lack of collaboration and integration among the stakeholders in this sector and an inactive role of travel agencies in aggregating information from all stakeholders and linking medical service providers with tourism service providers. There is also a need for a long-term policy and macro-level support from the government. In addition, by looking at the information flow along the medical tourism supply chain, this study reveals limited data exchange among the stakeholders in this chain. This is a result of minimal collaboration among them, as noted above.

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