Medical tourism and the rising middleclass are the main drivers in Thailand’s healthcare sector
In 2015, approximately 0.4% of GDP comes from medical tourism business while tourism accounts for around 6%. The number of international patients grows significantly and is expected to reach 3 million medical tourists in 2016. Urbanization and the growth of the middle class has also moved forward internal demand of higher quality medical services These changes are in line with investments in the healthcare market and the upgrading of hospitals and services. In addition, Thailand's increasingly aging population is expected to create large demand for medical devices and services in the next few years.
Thailand’s healthcare industry depends on foreign imports of high-technology equipment and devices
Thailand’s healthcare industry mainly depends on imports, with drugs accounting for over 4.5 billion USD and medical equipment and devices for 1 billion USD in 2015. Thailand’s imports of medical devices have been rising significantly since 2001 and the current modernisation of healthcare will represent even further opportunities for companies within medical devices, pharmaceuticals and health management.
Being a cost-effective production hub and having strong logistics infrastructure, Thailand also represents a potential destination for both manufacturers and distributors looking to set up operations to enter other emerging markets in the Mekong region and Southeast Asia.
As Thailand positions itself as a medical hub for Asia, it receives strong support from the government to create incentives for international firms to invest on the market, which creates opportunities for Swedish healthcare companies interested to penetrate the market and use Thailand as a local hub for manufacturing and distribution in the region.