NEW DELHI, 11 SEPTEMBER 2017 – Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) or better known as Malaysia Healthcare, was honoured to be a part of the Malaysia Day Dinner celebration held by the High Commission in Shangri-La’s Ero Hotel, New Delhi, today. The event aims to strengthen ties between the two countries, and foster bilateral trade, services, and investment between Malaysia and India.
Indian government officials and dignitaries including diplomats and captains of industries with strong ties to Malaysia, were entertained to a truly Malaysian celebration, with songs and dance including uniquely Malaysian dinner. Representatives from Malaysian agencies such as MATRADE, Tourism Malaysia, also attended the event.
MHTC Chief Executive Officer, Sherene Azli says “Malaysians are very hospitable and it is truly special to be able to celebrate Malaysia Day with our friends in India. We have always enjoyed a strong bond of friendship forged through shared historical, cultural and social ties.”
It was an evening of double celebration as Malaysia and India commemorate the 60th anniversary of Malaysia-India diplomatic relations. The historical and cultural links between the two nations have been the bedrock for stronger relations and have been strengthened further over the last 60 years including through enhanced tourism links and cultural activities in each other’s countries.
India, a vast South Asian destination, with more than 1.25 billion people, making it the second most populated country in the world, is a unique and emerging travel market. Indians have been coming to Malaysia for tourism for the longest time and recent trends show that more and more are seeking healthcare treatment in Malaysia too. “Although India itself promotes medical tourism, the country still has a huge catchment of population with very diverse profiles and needs. As such, Malaysia Healthcare is targeting niche markets that will complement health services already available in India”, added Sherene.
In 2016, around 820,000 Indian tourists visited Malaysia and out of this number, healthcare travel spending from India to Malaysia has seen a growth of 80% from 2015, with fertility, cardiology and bariatrics being the top choice treatments (Source: MHTC Informatics). With a total of 183 direct flights per week via various airlines, from over 10 cities across India, this third largest country in the world is obviously the next focus for Malaysia Healthcare.
Malaysia caters well to the needs of healthcare travellers from India, where there is ease of communication and cultural similarities which provide a natural environment for healthcare travellers. “Malaysia has the right qualities for achieving greater heights in international healthcare travel: excellent quality in healthcare services, accessibility and affordability. To top it off, it is easy for Indian patients to communicate with health professionals here, as English, Tamil, Hindi, and many other languages are widely spoken”, adds Sherene.
Recently, Malaysia Healthcare established a Call Centre in Mumbai, India to address the increasing number of inquiries from this region. The call centre is a collaboration between MHTC and Global Health and Travel (GHT), and is expected to be fully operational by end this year to ease facilitation of medical travel enquiries.
Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry has recorded an annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 17% since 2009. In 2016, more than 921,000 health travellers received treatment in Malaysia, spending around RM4 – 5 billion for medical treatments as well as hospitality services and tourism activities.
Malaysia Healthcare has moved from strength to strength in the last few years. The country was named “Medical Travel Destination of the Year” at the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards for three consecutive years from 2015 to 2017, and was also recognised as the “Best Country in the World for Healthcare” by International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index from 2015 to 2017.