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30 Jan 2006

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Private Hospitals, 2006: Foreign Patients Generating Income over THB36 Billion

In 2006, the number of foreign patients in Thai private hospitals is expected to reach some 1.4 million persons, earning the industry around THB36.4 billion in income. This will be an increase over the year before, when the number of foreign patients admitted to private hospitals totaled some 1.28 million persons, bringing some THB33 billion into the business. Among favorable factors for the private hospital industry are capable physicians, state-of-the-art treatments and technology, and comparatively low medical expenses. In addition, the growth in this business could also be attributed to revival in Thailand's tourism after the tsunami disaster. Significantly, the opening of the new international airport, if it proceeds as scheduled, will also be a boon to the hospital industry, along with tourism business and flourishing shopping for patients, their relatives and companions.

However, rising personnel-related expenses, more expensive electricity and interest rates have emerged as threats that should not be overlooked for this industry. Meanwhile, intense competition seems to lie ahead in the hospital business, both between local operators and from foreign competitors. This is particularly true for rivalry from Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia that have set ambitious plans to become hubs of medical treatments in Asia, the same way as Thailand does.

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