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Asia-Pacific

Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia Ramp Up Medical Tourism

Alan Woinski
November 3rd, 2022 at 6:53 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • STR reported China hotel RevPAR the week ended October 29 was down -17.1% year over year. When up against the similar week in 2019, hotel RevPAR fell -44.8%.
  • The South China Morning Post published an article on medical tourism being ramped up in Asia. The article focused on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia courting medical tourists.
  • Bali is seeking to attract world-class hospitals to the tropical island, adding medical treatment to its roster of offerings.

STR reported China hotel RevPAR the week ended October 29 was down -17.1% year over year. When up against the similar week in 2019, hotel RevPAR fell -44.8%. China hotel absolute occupancy for the week was 48.8% compared with 55.2% during the same week in 2021.

The South China Morning Post published an article on medical tourism being ramped up in Asia. The article focused on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia courting medical tourists with new facilities and programs, but Philippines lawmakers think the country could become one of the world’s top medical tourism hotspots if the government could come up with a marketing strategy. The article said this overall market in Asia could hit US$53 billion by 2028. The number of medical tourists, patients with passports, are an estimated 14 million a year and rising. Before the lockdown, medical tourists spent an estimated US$600 million a year in Thailand. Last month the Thailand government approved a project to build an international medical complex in Phuket at a cost of US$133 million as part of a 20-year strategy for Thailand to become even more of a medical hub. As well as having a 300 bed hospital, the Andaman International Medical Hub will serve as a training center and include a facility for the research and development of health services. It will also be equipped with the first advanced dental facility in southern Thailand. Malaysia was awarded Destination of the Year from the International Medical Travel Journal in 2020. The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council wants to keep that momentum going, promoting the preventative-healthcare focused Premium Wellness Program which is a collaborative effort between top tier private hospitals, hotels and travel companies to integrated health screening with world class hotel accommodation, leisure tour itinerary and other medical and dental treatments. While South Korea and Vietnam have their own strengths, the article said Japan and Singapore are the two biggies with Japan popular for cosmetic procedures. Canada was ranked number one in MedicalTourism.com’s Index for 2020-2021 with Japan and Singapore second and third, respectively.

Bali is seeking to attract world-class hospitals to the tropical island, adding medical treatment to its roster of offerings. Indonesia designated a 41 hectare area in Sanur on the eastern coast as a special economic zone for health tourism. Health companies including the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic are looking to partner with the government to help Indonesia recoup some of the US$6.2 billion in national losses due to outbound medical tourism each year. It is estimated around 2 million Indonesians travel to countries such as Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and the US for treatment. PT Hotel Indonesia Natour owns the designated area and wants to develop Sanur into a health tourism hub within three years. Hotel Indonesia, state-run hospital Pertamina Bina Medika and others will invest around 10.2 trillion rupiah to build health facilities, hotels, a convention center, and a botanical garden that reflects local medical practices. By 2045 the country expects to gain up to $1.25 billion of foreign-currency earnings from medical tourism.

The Philippines has removed the quarantine requirement for unvaccinated arrivals. This follows the Executive Order by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to make the use of face masks in public places voluntary. Those who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or have a vaccination status that cannot be independently validated will still be required to present a negative NAT test result taken within 24 hours prior to the date and time of departure from the country of origin. The latest resolution also removes any requirements for fully vaccinated travelers to take a pre-departure test although they remain required to show proof of vaccination with the final dose to have been administered at least 14 days prior to departure.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment said construction of Studio City Phase 2 on Cotai in Macau will be completed before the end of the year but any opening will only take place from the second quarter of 2023 and only then in stages. Melco said they will monitor the market closely to determine the appropriate time to open, currently anticipated to be in stages beginning in the second quarter of 2023. They also updated investors that they do not have any plans to pursue a full takeover of Studio City’s parent, Studio City International Holdings. Melco already owns 54.9% of the company

MGM China reported that MGM Cotai is no longer in lockdown in Macau. More than 1,500 people that were locked inside following the news of a casino dealer testing positive had to take Covid tests and all were negative.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s South Korean integrated resort, Mohegan INSPIRE, is on track for a late 2023 launch. The company said construction progress for Phase 1A has reached 30%. This property is set to become the largest integrated resort in Northeast Asia if all four phases are fully completed. Considering this project is a good 5 years behind schedule and the terrible results of other IRs in South Korea, the full buildout of this project is far from guaranteed. Phase 1A will cover an area of 461,661 square meters and will incorporate three 5-star hotels with a combined 1,275 rooms plus a 15,000-seat arena and a foreigner-only casino. Total development costs for the initial phase is US$1.3 billion. Future phases are expect to include the largest banquet hall and convention center in the metropolitan area with a 4,000 person capacity, a global F&B facility, a premium shopping mall, Splash Bay – a dome-shaped year round indoor water park and an outdoor family park.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill revealed plans for Singapore’s new tallest skyscraper, 8 Shenton Way. The mixed-use building will be located on a prominent position near Marina Bay and will reach a height of 305 meters, surpassing the Guoco Tower which is 284 meters. There will be seven terraces, including one for the hotel floors and three for the residential levels. The gardens will be carved out of the building every five to six floors. The interior of the skyscraper will have 148,000 square meters of floor space, spread over 63 floors. This will be split between offices, public spaces, retail space as well as the hotel and luxury residences. The 8 Shenton Way project is being developed by Perennial Holdings Private Limited and a consortium of investors and is scheduled for completion in 2028.

Atlantis The Royal in Dubai began taking guest reservations with stays available starting in 2023. The property will have 795 guest accommodations spanning 43 stories in six towers with views over nearby Palm Island and the Arabian Sea. There will be an infinity pool on the twenty-second floor adjoining a world-class pub that feels like it is floating among the clouds. That 90 meter long Skypool will tie together the towers. The property will have a collection of 17 restaurants and bars. 44 of the resort’s luxury Suites and Signature Penthouses feature their own private infinity pools with all guests staying in the Suites or Penthouses having their own butler service.

Personnel Moves

Star Entertainment in Australia has hired Betty Ivanoff to oversee legal affairs. She comes to Star after being with Crown Resorts. She went to Crown when Steve McCann was brought in as CEO and oversaw the legal and regulatory battles and eventual takeover by Blackstone. She will join Star as chief legal officer after her six month non-compete expires. Star is going through the same battle Crown did, even worse actually. The difference is, so far, Star does not have a suitor like Crown did right from the beginning of the hearings.

Alan Woinski
November 3rd, 2022 at 6:53 AM EDT

Companies: Atlantis Resorts, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Star Entertainment

Locations: Bali, China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand

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