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24/06/2010 - Thailand medical tourism network gets underway  24/06/2010 - Thailand medical tourism network gets underway

Thailand is introducing a new medical tourism network to help offer a wider range of wellness and medical services.

The key players behind the formation of the Medical Tourism Cluster (MTC) hope to position Thailand as a world-class health care provider.  With Medical Tourism increasing by an estimated 15% each year and revenue reaching an estimated 360 billion baht (over 11 billion USD) in 2009 with treatments alone accounting for 108 billion baht (over 3 billion USD). Thailand provides these services to around 1.39 million tourists visiting the country each year.

The MTC website will coordinate contacts and sales leads between network members and overseas medical tourism providers.  When fully operational the site will feature a medical tourism guide and help promote service standards.  Various languages will be made available to generate contacts.  A Facebook page has also been set up for further information.

"We will begin by hosting training for would-be members.  Most of our members will come from the Thai Hotels Association, Private Hospital Association, Association of Thailand Travel Agents and the Translators and Interpreters Association of Thailand." said Sumatarat Sitabut, a senior consultant for The Institute for Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Thailand.

The Thai Hotels Association president and the MTC founding vice president Prakit Chinamourphong hopes that this new network will encourage hotel entrepreneurs to consider this industry.  "This is not a big investment for the hotels as most hotels already have facilities, but it involves training to assist guests with special needs."

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