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There’s a new generation of tourists visiting Hua Hin for health and wellness

Hua Hin and Cha Am will be among the first locations in Thailand to be promoted as destinations for medical and wellness tourism.

Mr. Vaipanya Kongkwanyuen, Geschäftsführer von Chiva-Som

Earlier this year Thailand announced plans to lure more foreign tourists by aiming to establish itself as a leading destination for medical and wellness tourism.

Promoting itself as a medical tourism hub is one of the key drivers of Thailand’s tourism industry in the post COVID-19 era.

Hua Hin and Cha Am will be among the first locations in Thailand to be promoted as destinations for medical and wellness tourism.

If the plans prove successful, it could be a major boon for Thailand, and also Hua Hin and Cha Am in particular.

A recent estimate by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) stated that wellness tourists spend on average more than double the amount of money spent than other tourists.

It will also see health and wellness services and facilities in the region upgraded to meet international standard requirements.

But while the pandemic brought health and wellness to the fore for many, it’s far from being an emerging trend, particularly among travelers to Hua Hin.

“The pandemic immensely changed the customer behaviours and profiles but it is not unexpected,” Mr. Vaipanya Kongkwanyuen, Chiva-Som General Manager told Hua Hin Today.

“Even before the COVID-19, wellness and ecotourism tourism had been the key trends. The pandemic just multiplied the demand and expanded the ‘wellness’ onto other businesses”.

“This situation leads a new generation who are more aware of personal care, health conditions and alert on the benefits of preventive wellness,” Mr. Vaipanya added.

“Previously, people thought wellness was for senior people or habitation. Nowadays, they understand that wellness is relevant to daily life.

“Chiva-Som always says that wellness is a lifetime journey that must be customised and sustained in daily life. We also believe that wellness is for everyone and should start from an early age.

“I can see new faces of younger guests starting their wellness journey with us and continuing their visits. Our repeat guests take their younger family to learn the wellness practice.

“Meanwhile, we keep developing our service to match up with technology, and latest trends. We never stop training and upgrading of education for the staff and wellness therapists, we stay informed on the latest changes and incorporate the trends that best fit our core philosophy.”

“In results, we offer innovation and new treatments to meet both regular guests, new guests and younger generations who are looking for holistic wellness and inspiration of living well.”

Like many businesses in the hospitality industry, Chiva-Som was driven to adapt to changing trends during the pandemic.

While guests at Chiva-Som were predominantly foreigners pre-pandemic, the resort has seen an increase among domestic guests.

Pre-pandemic the average length of stay for guests at Chiva-Som was seven days, Mr. Vaipanya revealed. The longest period a guest stayed at Chiva-Som was nine months.

However, during the COVID-19 years when the customer group shifted to the domestic market, the average length of stay was 3.5 nights or sometimes longer depending on the wellness goals of the individual guest. This is very good feedback for domestic guests.

“Before the pandemic the top five nationalities of our guests were British, Russian, Australian, German, and European as a region”, Mr. Vaipanya said.

“However, during the pandemic years, wellness tourism gained some interest among domestic travellers, so we welcomed more Thai guests who were looking for a world-class wellness resort locally to support their wellbeing or to start off their wellness lifestyle. Many of them became our regular guests and members”.



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