KUALA LUMPUR – The RM30 million allocation for the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) under Budget 2018 tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday will spur further growth of the medical tourism industry in the country.
MHTC chief executive officer Sherene Azli said the council welcomed the announcement and described it as being in line with the national economic blueprint where healthcare travel was identified as one of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) in Malaysia’s bid towards high income nation status by 2020.
She said since 2011, the industry had shown tremendous potential and recorded double-digit annual growth, ranging between 16 to 17 percent every year.
“In 2016, the healthcare travel industry grew about 23 per cent from 2015, compared to the average growth rate of 15 per cent from 2011 to 2015.
“Malaysia received more than 921,500 health travellers and it is estimated that last year alone, the actual contribution of the healthcare travel industry to the Malaysian economy is approximately RM4 billion to RM5 billion,” she said in a statement today.
Sherene said the sector had identified Indonesia, Vietnam, China and recently India, as core markets based on the volume of healthcare travellers as well as growth potential for these respective markets.
In the 2008 budget, MHTC was allocated RM30 million to strengthen the industry as one of the country’s sources of income, including providing end-to-end service for medical tourists to Malaysia.
The allocation among others is to promote Malaysia as the Asian Hub for Fertility Treatment, including IVF and Cardiology, extend the eVisa facility to cover other specialised medical services and high-value healthcare packages and introduce Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme which offers special incentive to private hospitals to attract medical tourists.