Title: Competitiveness policies for medical tourism clusters: government initiatives in Thailand

Authors: Fernando G. Alberti; Jessica D. Giusti; Fabio Papa; Emanuele Pizzurno

Addresses: CERMEC – Center for Creative and Cultural Industries Research; School of Business and Management, LIUC Universita' Cattaneo, corso Matteotti 22, 21053 Castellanza, Italy ' CERMEC – Center for Creative and Cultural Industries Research; School of Business and Management, LIUC Universita' Cattaneo, corso Matteotti 22, 21053 Castellanza, Italy ' CERMEC – Center for Creative and Cultural Industries Research; School of Business and Management, LIUC Universita' Cattaneo, corso Matteotti 22, 21053 Castellanza, Italy ' School of Industrial Engineering, LIUC Universita' Cattaneo, corso Matteotti 22, 21053 Castellanza, Italy

Abstract: Despite the increasing debate in literature on both tourism clusters and medical tourism, the role played by the government in medical tourism clusters remains vastly unexplored. The aim of the present paper is to explore government initiatives in clusters where the medical and tourism industries engage in a virtuous circuit for regional competitiveness. The paper builds on the longitudinal case study of the Thailand medical tourism cluster, analysing its formation and development in time and the competitiveness policies set up by the government. In Thailand, idiosyncratic factor conditions allowed the creation of a new form of cluster, where the health and the hospitality systems are beneficially tied together in a self reinforcing mechanism of competitiveness nurtured by tourism flows. Our findings will help regional policy-makers understand the role of government in the formation and development of clusters where tourism is synergic with the medical industry for regional competitiveness.

Keywords: healthcare industry; tourism industry; medical tourism clusters; regional competitiveness; health tourism; government initiatives; competitiveness policy; developing countries; Thailand; tourism flows.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEPEE.2014.065252

International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, 2014 Vol.7 No.3, pp.281 - 309

Available online: 20 Oct 2014 *

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