As the Southeast Asian country markets itself as a global hub for healthcare tourism in the post-pandemic age, Thailand will begin giving one-year passports to people seeking medical treatment.
The charge for such visas would now cost 5,000 Baht (RM638) instead of the 6,000 Baht proposed a year ago, according to a statement from the government's deputy spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana. Beginning on January 1st, the new permits will be granted, she stated.
In addition to allowing them to stay in Thailand for a maximum of 90 days at a time, the medical visas will allow overseas patients to fly in and out, according to Tipanan. She added that applicants would need to provide documentation of a hospital visit, health insurance, and appropriate funding for treatments totalling at least 800,000 Baht.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Pcl and Bumrungrad Hospital Pcl are leading the push to position Thailand as a top-tier destination for medical care to entice more foreign tourists in the post-Covid-19 period.
The Bank of Thailand said this week that the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia is also counting on a resurgence in the tourist sector to fuel economic development in 2019. After the government lifted most of the restrictions on travel and business after the Covid-19 outbreak eased, the nation had a better-than-expected recovery in foreign arrivals.
Hospitals will have to specify a specific treatment plan and costs for the applicants and medical visas would only be granted to patients who need ongoing care for more than 90 days, according to Tipanan. Only applicants who have medical certifications may request an extension of more than a year.
According to her, the new visas may be used for cosmetic surgery, anti-ageing treatments, cancer, and organ transplants.
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