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The International Medical Travel Association (IMTA) and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) sign MOU to Promote Healthcare Travel

Focus on promoting medical, health and wellness travel in Asia.

Bangkok, Thailand (PRWEB) June 17, 2009 -- The IMTA and PATA recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote healthcare travel in the Pacific Asia region. Working together, the two organizations hope to stimulate development of this high value sector and drive more integration between the travel and healthcare industries.

Under the MOU, PATA and the IMTA will focus on two main areas. The first is helping the health and travel industries identify commercial opportunities in healthcare travel. The second is assisting governments and tourism authorities develop strategies to promote this sector.

Already known for its world class spas and hospitals, Asia is home to many leading spa and medical tourism brands like Six Senses, Chiva-Som, Bumrungrad and Parkway. Medical travel and spas have been hit hard by the global economic downturn, but both are considered high-value niche markets with excellent growth potential.

According to Ruben Toral, president of the IMTA and former Group Marketing Director for Bumrungrad International, medical tourists are precisely the kind of high value, long stay visitors that countries should be courting. His argument is simple. "They spend more, stay longer and are more likely to return."

Asia is the dominant player in the medical travel industry with countries like Thailand, Singapore and India taking the lead. Mr. Toral believes that Asia should be aggressively developing a leadership position in healthcare travel - a term that incorporates health, wellness and medical treatment - because Asia has all the right ingredients.

Gregory Duffell, PATA CEO, agrees. He sees healthcare travel as a new product category to stimulate the travel to Asia. "The travel industry wants to engage," he says, "but just doesn't know how. Our job is to help them find the way." PATA recently hosted a webinar for members on healthcare travel, and both organizations will be participating in the Healthcare Travel Conference in Singapore later this month.

Later this year, PATA and IMTA plan to organize a roundtable meeting on healthcare travel that brings together representatives from healthcare, hospitality, travel and government.

About The IMTA
The International Medical Travel Association is a global organization of stakeholders in the international medical travel industry, representing leading healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators and related industry service providers worldwide. IMTA supports the development of international industry standards and best practices that promote and advance medical quality, safety, and transparency for the international patient, and that preserve and protect the doctor-patient relationship. IMTA is a not-for-profit association. For more information, please visit

About PATA
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. In partnership with private and public sector members PATA enhances the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region. PATA provides leadership and counsel on an individual and collective basis to nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies; international airlines, airports and cruise lines as well as many hundreds of travel industry companies across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to nearly 40 PATA chapters worldwide and participate in a wide range of PATA and industry events. PATA's Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) offers unrivalled data and insights including Asia Pacific inbound and outbound statistics, analyses and forecasts as well as in-depth reports on strategic tourism markets.
PATA is a not-for-profit organisation. For more information, please visit


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