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27 Oct 2023


Revenues from foreign patients projected to grow at a slower rate in 2024…correction of growth base to pre-COVID-19 levels (Current Issue No.3442 Full Ed.)


        During the rest of 2023 and through to 2024, it is expected that revenues from foreign patients, including expat and fly-in patients of private hospitals listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) will grow at a slower rate, due partly to the gradual correction of growth base towards pre-COVID-19 levels, and the global economic slowdown, which may hurt purchasing power of some foreign patients.
        KResearch, therefore, expects that the total revenues from foreign patients of private hospitals may reach approximately THB57 billion in 2024, an increase of 8.0-10.0 percent YoY, down from the figures reported for 2022-2023, reflecting a correction of growth base to pre-COVID-19 levels. Looking ahead, close attention must be paid to the global economic outlook, international conflicts, and the government’s tourism and investment stimulus measures because they will likely affect revenues and the number of foreign patients in 2024.
        KResearch views that revenues from fly-in patients may gradually recover and account for about 49 percent of the total revenues from foreign patients in 2024. Meanwhile, revenues from expat patients may account for roughly 51.0 percent of the total revenues from foreign patients.
        KResearch expects that the number of foreign patients visiting Thailand may reach approximately 3.07 million (patient/visit) in 2024, representing a gradual recovery from that seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, as several factors continue to pressure their purchasing power and travel decisions. Fly-in patients in 2024 may primarily comprise: 1) those from the Middle East due to their requirements for private medical services; and 2) those from ASEAN, including patients with high-purchasing power from Cambodia and Myanmar, plus emerging markets, such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Regarding Chinese medical tourists, it is important to monitor their confidence towards traveling and the Chinese economic outlook as these factors may cause some Chinese medical tourists to delay their overseas trips. Meanwhile, expat patients have returned to Thailand after the COVID-19 pandemic has eased. The number of expat patients in Thailand will likely grow in economic zones, including Chon Buri, Rayong, and Samut Prakan. However, close attention must be paid to the government’s policies, aimed at attracting investment and raising minimum wages as these factors may affect the decisions of foreign companies to invest in the country and the number of expat patients in the future.
        Asides from the factors preventing foreign patients from travelling to Thailand, competition in the private hospital business here remains intense, driven by the proliferation of new players. Moreover, Thai private hospitals have had to compete with their peers in Malaysia and Singapore in order to become a regional medical hub. Meanwhile, Thailand has steadily upgraded its medical service on par with the required international standards. It also has an advantage in terms of competitive medical costs although there are several challenges, related to high management costs, which may affect business performance and profitability of each player to a varying degree.

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