The Medical Hub Board is to propose that the government allow direct international flights to quarantine spa and resort locations in facilitation of medical tourists, adding to Special Tourist VISA (STV) visitors being allowed into the country to stimulate its economy.
The most recent meeting of the board chaired by the Minister of Public Health, Anuthin Chanweerakul, invited Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Rachakijprakarn and other relevant agencies to discuss the proposal. The meeting agreed to suggest Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai and U-Tapao airports as additional direct destinations for medical tourists, after Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports in Bangkok. They are to present the idea to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Alternative state quarantine facilities have so far taken on 1,123 foreigners, including their caretakers, generating some 114 million baht in revenue for the country. Another 2,220 such medical tourists are pending approval, with an estimated over 3,000 expected to enter the country in the near future. An online shopping program is to be made available, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism , targeting the visitors and they will be recommended destinations to visit after their 14 day quarantine is complete, to further their economic contribution.
A sub-committee of the CCSA has already green lit principles for the use of spas, resorts and wellness centers as alternative quarantine locations with the Department of Health Service Promotion, drafting guidelines for the practices. Phuket is also to be developed as a medical hub for the south.
Anuthin voiced his belief that such plans will help prop up the economy, saying medical tourists and long stay visitors should generate some 360 billion baht for the country.