The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to attract 265,600 Indonesian tourists this year by aggressively promoting Thailand as the health-care hub of the region.
Porntip Amkornpan, a director of the TAT's Singapore office, said Indonesia had a lot of potential to grow given its population of 240 million. If Thailand attracts only one percent or 2.4 million travellers, there would be huge economic benefits.
More importantly, she added, most rich Indonesians prefer to seek medical care abroad because of higher standards and technologies. In the past, most Indonesian visitors travelled to Thailand for shopping, but today the trend is changing. They like to combine health check-ups and shopping together.
The most popular health-care services among Indonesians include lasik eye treatment, plastic surgery, dental care and checkups.
To support the promotion, the TAT plans to open a new office in Jakarta in 2010.
The hospital business in Thailand has been experiencing steady growth with many accredited hospitals such as Bumrungrad, Phyathai and Bangkok Nursing Home welcoming a large number of overseas patients.
Prakit Piriyakiet, the executive director of the TAT's Asean, South Asia and South Pacific Region, believed that more Indonesians could be expected due to many factors including the availability of flights from Thai Airways International and other carriers.