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Visitors from six Gulf Cooperation Council countries seeking medical services in Thailand will be granted a 90-day visa on entry. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced the decision at a press conference held on 22 February 2013 at the Ministry of Public Health.
The decision is in line with the Government’s policy of developing Thailand into a medical hub. At the initial stage, the visa extension from 30 days to 90 days will be granted to nationals of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Prime Minister Yingluck said that, under the new rule, which took effect on 4 January 2013, medical tourists from the six countries are allowed to come with no more than four accompanying persons.
They need to produce appointment documents from a hospital in Thailand, bank statements, and other relevant documents. The Prime Minister said that during her visit to Gulf Cooperation Council countries, she discovered that Thailand’s healthcare service has attracted many patients from these countries, which were also interested in cooperating with Thailand in medical service development.
She believed that the Government’s policy of developing Thailand into a medical hub would promote medical tourism and generate more income.
This privilege under the medical hub project would be extended to other ASEAN countries in 2015.
ASEAN, with a combined population of 590 million, would become a major market for Thai health services. The policy to develop Thailand into an international medical center focuses on three areas: service hub for modern medicine, traditional Thai medical service, and alternative medicine, academic hub, and product hub. Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said that, in 2012, foreign visitors sought medical services here on more than two million trips. Popular health services include medical check-ups, cosmetic surgery, transsexual surgery, dental care, orthopedic surgery, and heart surgery.
Medical tourism earned Thailand 121,658 million baht in 2012.
He said that the Ministry of Public Health has also provided information about medical services for foreign visitors at the counter service at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thailand is known to offer top-quality medical treatment at a reasonable cost. Modern facilities and equipment, as well as qualified medical doctors, nurses, and technical staff, are considered advantageous for Thailand. Traditional Thai and alternative medicine is also recognized widely. Inside Thailand — A 90-Day Visa Granted to Foreigners from Six Countries Seeking Medical Services in Thailand