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27 Oct 2023

Econ Digest

Private hospitals business in 2024, revenues from foreign patients is projected to grow at a slower rate due to correction of growth base.


        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 a gradual correction of the growth base to pre-COVID-19 levels and a global economic slowdown, which may hurt the 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% YoY, which is lower than 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 government’s tourism and investment stimulus measures, as these factors 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% of the total revenues from foreign patients in 2024. Meanwhile, revenues from expat patients may account for roughly 51.0% 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 the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, as several factors will continue to pressure their purchasing power and travel decisions. Fly-in patients in 2024 may primarily comprise: 1) those from the Middle East who require private medical services; and 2) those from ASEAN, including patients with high-purchasing power from Cambodia and Myanmar, as well as patients from emerging markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Regarding Chinese medical tourists, it is important to monitor their confidence in traveling and China’s 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 the economic zones such as 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.

        Aside 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 services on par with the required international standards. Thailand also has a competitive advantage in terms of medical costs, although it faces several challenges related to high management costs, which may affect the operation performance and profitability of each player to varying degrees.

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Econ Digest