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Thai hospital’s evacuation hurts medical tourism prospects

April 30th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

A Thai hospital was evacuated Friday, reports Denis D. Gray of the AP, further demonstrating the effects of the country’s discord on the medical tourism industry. The protesters suspected that security forces were taking refuge in the hospital.

Chulalongkorn Hospital in downtown Bangkok suspended all but emergency services, as the Redshirt protesters scoured the premises looking for pro-government operatives. The protesters withdrew after not finding any police or soldiers in the compound.

This comes as yet another blow to Thailand’s booming medical tourism industry, as until now the protests had remained safely away from the medical industry. It is expected that Thailand’s medical tourism industry, and indeed tourism in general, will suffer greatly from the escalating tensions in the capital.

For now, the U.S. Department of state has advised against all “non-essential” travel to Thailand, warning citizens to stay away from the turmoil. For thousands of medical travelers from the United States and around the world are being forced to re-evaluate their plans, delay their medical procedures, or seek alternate destinations.

It remains to be seen what long-term effects the protests will have on Thailand’s medical tourism industry. With no end in sight, it seems likely that medical travelers seeking essential treatments will have to select an alternate destination for medical care.

Other popular medical tourism destinations in the world include Costa Rica, India, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Medical tourism poised to change the industry

December 3rd, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

By Julie Sturgeon, Uptake Travel Industry Blog

There’s a new player in town, and there’s no doubt many travel services will welcome it with open arms.

OK, medical tourism wasn’t born yesterday — insiders estimate there are thousands of companies doing this around the globe, many of them mom-and-pop operations — but pretty darn close. More importantly, it’s growing up quickly, with Formosa Medical Travel predicting a 14 percent growth in Asian markets alone from 2009 – 2012. In a year when any growth at all elicits applause, that’s a dazzling future. What’s more, Formosa says high-cost surgeries like orthopedic, cardiac, and cosmetic top the list of drivers for medical tourism.

So American-owned Formosa has quietly built a travel niche from this trend, signing agreements with leading hospitals in Taiwan, and recently earning the backing of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council. Taiwan’s health care system is currently considered  one of the most efficient in the world, with administrative costs below 2 percent.

“While the debate over health care reform in the United States continues, the costs of medical care in Taiwan remain among the lowest in the world,” said Don Gilliland, Formosa’s chief operating officer, in a November 30 press release.  For example, the price of total knee replacement surgery at a JCI-accredited hospital in Taiwan, including all surgical costs, VIP accommodations, concierge service, transportation, and round-trip airfare, is generally less than $15,000, while the price in the United States is often upwards of $60,000.

At the moment, Formosa specializes only in arrangements for knee and hip replacement surgeries. And, sticking to the traditional travel agency format, it does not charge a fee for its role in the planning…

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Article courtesy Uptake Travel Industry Blog

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