Health Tourism Management: the Case of Thai Health Tourism Industry

Main Article Content

Boon-Anan Phinaitrup


The purpose of the article is to focus on the mechanism that the state utilizes in supporting and developing the health tourism including the relationship with industry and their roles and responsibilities for creating longevity in the health tourism industry in Thailand.The data for this study was collected through purposive sampling method. In-depth interviews were conducted with thirty (30) managers from the Department of Health Services Support in the Ministry of Public Health and the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Authority of Thailand in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The results showed that 3 main public mechanisms for thepromotion of health tourism are used for the promotion of the health tourism industry in Thailand. The main mechanisms used in the promotion of health tourism are, the Department of Health Services Support in the Ministry of Public Health, Department of Tourism, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. However, each of these three-mechanism had unique approaches to managing and promoting health tourism in the country. For example, the Department of Health Service Support monitors the quality control system for health services products and health services businesses, the Department of Tourism establishes the basic foundations of tourism, facilitates tourism in the country. And the Tourism Authority of Thailand markets the brand and identity of the country both domestically and internationally. Moreover, the mechanisms that are important in turning policy into action and increasing competitiveness revealed that strong organizations with a specific mission and clear working guidelines had a direct influence on health promotion.

Article Details



Ardell, D. B. (1986), High LevelWellness 2nd, Berkeley,Ten Speed Press.

Benson, H., & Stuart, E. M. (1992), The Wellness Book, NewYork, John Wiley & Sons.

Bunyawongroj, P. (2009),Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism, paperpresented at Towards
Internationalization Thai Spa Expo, February 12, 2009,Bangkok.

Carrera, P. M., & Bridges, J. FP (2014),Globalization and Healthcare: Understanding Health and
Medical Tourism,Retrieved from

Chan, J. S.; Prebensen, N., &Huan, T. C. (2008) “Determining the Motivation of Wellness Travelers”.
International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19(1), 120-127.

Chan, R. (2002), “Trade in Health Service”,Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 8(2),

Chinai, R., &Goswami, R. (2007), “Medical Visas Mark Growth of Indian Medical Tourism”, Bulletin
of the World Health Organization,85(2), 164-165.

Dacanay, J., & Rodolfo, M. (2005),Challenges in Health Service Trade: Philippine Case,
Discussion Paper No. 2005-30. Makati: Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

Dunn, H.L. (1965) High-Level Wellness Means Canadian. Journal of Public Health, 50(1),
Economist Intelligence Unit. (2011),“Travelling for Health: The Potential for Medical Tourism”,
Retrieved from

Edgell, D. L. Sr. (1999), Tourism Policy: The Next Millennium, Champaign, IL,Sagamore.

Greenberg, J. S.,&Dintiman, G. B. (1997), Wellness: Creating a Life of Health and Fitness, Boston
John Wiley & Sons.

Global Spa Summit (2011),“Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism Where Do Spa Fit?”, Retrieved

Goodrich, J. N., & Goodrich, K. L. (1987),Health-Care Tourism: An Exploratory Study, London,
Butterworth & Co.

Horowitz, M. D., &Rosensweig, J. A. (2007), “Medical Tourism: Globalization of the Healthcare
Market Place”, Retrieved from

Hall, C.M. (2011), “Health and Medical Tourism: A Kill or Cure for Global Public Health?”, Retrieved

Hazarika, I. (2010),“Medical Tourism: Its Potential Impact on the Health Workforce and Health
System in India”, Health Policy and Planning Journal, 25(3), 248-251.

Henderson, J.C. (2003), “Healthcare Tourism in Southeast Asia”, Tourism Review International
Journal, 7(3), 111-121.

Hodgkinson, P. G. (1994), “The Management of Health and Safety Hazards in Tourist Resorts: World
Tourism Organization”, International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental
Health, 7(3), 207-219.

Hofer, S. (2003), “Health Tourism: Definition Focused on the Swiss Market and Conceptualization of
Health(i)ness”,Journal of Health Organization and Management, Retrieved from

Kasaenusuwan, A. Director General of Tourism Ministry of Tourism and Sport. Interviewed July 31,

Kasikorn Research Center. (2012),Tourism Policy to Enhance Wellness Market Opportunities,
Bangkok: TraiMit Publishing.

Kelly, C. (2010), “Analysing Wellness Tourism Provision: A Retreat Operators’ Study”,Journal of
Hospitality & Tourism Management,17(1), 108-116.

Krasanayarawiwong, T. Deputy Director of Supporting Health Service Department. Interviewed.
December 12, 2014.

Laing, J., &Weiler, B. (2008),Asia Tourism: Growth and Change, USA, Kramen Publishing.
McLean, D. (1998), Rethinking Tourism and Ecotravel, West Hartford, CT, Kumarian.
Mihalic, T. (2000), “Environmental Management of a Tourist Destination”, Tourism Management,
21(1), 65-78.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (2002),National Health Policy 2002, New Delhi: Ministry
of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Mueller, H., & Kaufmann, E. L. (2001),“Wellness Tourism: Market Analysis of a Special Health
Tourism Segment and Implications”, Journal of Vacation Marketing. Retrieved from

Nahrstedt, W. (2004), Wellness: A New Perspective for Leisure Centers Health Tourism and Spas in
Europe on the Global Health Market, USA, Haworth Hospitality Press.

Packer, T. L. (2009),“Understanding the Complex Interplay Between Tourism Disability and
Environmental Context”, Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation, 2(1), 281-292.
Paul, D. (2006), “A Natural Beauty”,Interior Design Journal, 77(2), 176-183.

Pocock, N.S.,&Phua, K.H. (2011), Medical Tourism and Policy Implications for Health System: A Conceptual Framework from a Comparative Study of Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia,
Retrieved from

Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board. (2012, June 12),Trend of Global
Wellness in Asia,Retrieved from

Oppermann, W. D. (2000),Tourism Management, Australia, John Wiley & Sons.

Pitrachart, K. Director of Tourism Service Development. Interviewed. July 24, 2014.

Richter, L. K. (1989),The Politics of Tourism in Asia, Honolulu,University Press of Hawaii.

Richter, L. K. (1999), “After Political Turmoil: The Lesson Rebuilding Tourism in Three Asia
Countries”, Journal of Travel Research, 34(1), 41-46.

Richter, L.K. (2003),“International Tourism and Its Global Public Health Consequence”,Journal of
Travel Research,4(1). Retrieved from

Ross, K. (2006), Health Tourism: An Overview HSMAI Marketing Review”, Retrieved from>

Rosen, A. (2006),“When Finish War Vets Go to Spa”, Maclean’sJournal, 19(3), 81-93.

Smith, M.,& Kelly, C (2006), “Wellness Tourism”,Journal of Tourism Recreation Research,
3(1), 1-4.

Smith, M., &Puczko, L. (2014),Health, Tourism & Hospitality 2nd edition,USA,Routledge.

Smith, R. (2013), “Global Wellness Tourism”,Retrieved from

Sonthirank, T. Director of Information System and Communication Ministry of Public Health.
Interviewed. September 24, 2014.

The Institute for Small and Medium Enterprise Development. (2013),Strategy and Action Plan to
Enhance SME,Bangkok,Panaran Company

Timmel, K. (2005) Spa Mamas.Health Journal, 19(1), 40-46.

Voigt, C.; Brown, G., &Howat, G. (2011), “Wellness Tourists: In Search of Transformation”,
Journal of Tourism Review 2(1) Retrieved from

Walt, K. B. (2000), “Global Public-Private Partnership”, Bulletin of the World Health Organization
78(5), 234-240.

Whittaker, A. (2008), “Pleasure and Pain: Medical Travel in Asia”, Retrieved from