Southern cities in Thailand to promote themselves as premier health and wellness travel destinations
The tourism and hospitality industry in Thailand’s southern region has been severely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The southern provinces heavily rely on tourism for their economic stability, especially from international visitors who bring in substantial income.
In order to revive the industry and enhance economic growth, the Thai government has collaborated with the private sector to establish the “Andaman Wellness Economic Corridor” pilot project. This initiative aims to transform the southern provinces on the Andaman coast into a leading global health hub.
Dr. Thares Krassanairawiwong, Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support, Ministry of Public Health, explained that the government aims to position Thailand as an international tourism hub, focusing on health promotion, wellness tourism, traditional health products, herb businesses, and health tourism destinations. Thailand is already recognized as one of the top five health tourism destinations globally, with the wellness tourism market continuously growing. As the COVID-19 situation improves, the government plans to target the high-end market, which includes medical tourism and health and wellness tourism, as these sectors gain popularity among tourists.
The government has designated three southern provinces on the Andaman coast – Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi – as prime tourist destinations under the concept of a “Smart Health and Wellness City.” Each province will showcase its unique strengths, with Phuket focusing on medical services and international conferences, Phang Nga excelling in elderly care services, and Krabi renowned for its therapeutic saltwater hot springs. The Department of Health Service Support officials have held discussions with network partners in these provinces to integrate health tourism and support the development of the Andaman Wellness Economic Corridor project, aligning with the concept of a future metaverse virtual world.
Mr. Karn Prachumpan, CEO of The Beach Development Co., Ltd., emphasized the need for Phuket to reinvent itself in response to COVID-19. Traditional tourism is no longer sufficient, and the focus must shift to health tourism. Visitors will be able to benefit from health-related activities during and after their vacations, fostering loyalty and elevating Phuket to a world-class tourist destination.
Similarly, Mr. Sompong Daopiset, CEO of Star Home Beach Resort Co., Ltd., highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors. In Phang Nga, they are adopting a sports tourism approach to change the perception of the province as geared mainly towards the elderly. By offering engaging and trendy activities, they aim to attract a more diverse crowd and elevate Phang Nga’s status as a vibrant tourist destination.
Mr. Wichai Poolworaluk, Chairman of Klongtom Heritage Co., Ltd., discussed Krabi’s readiness to promote itself as a health city. Krabi boasts the world-class Klongthom Salt Hot Springs, which is renowned for its therapeutic mineral properties. The province intends to develop the Klongthom Heritage project, utilizing its natural resources and attractive landscapes, to position Krabi as a sought-after destination for a well-being lifestyle. Collaborative efforts, targeted investment, and the establishment of a physical therapy hospital are key elements of this strategy.
The Andaman Wellness Economic Corridor project aims to transform the southern cities of Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi into economic and wellness hubs, showcasing their unique offerings to the world. This collaboration signals a shift from the traditional tourism concept and highlights the natural wonders and health-related attractions available in these provinces.
Original source: www.nationthailand.com/pr-news/business/40015061
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