Malaysia set to earn RM1.3b revenue from medical tourism

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s medical tourism industry is expected to generate revenue of RM1.3 billion this year, up 30% compared with RM1 billion last year, says the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).

Chief executive officer Sherene Azli said that in terms of the number of health travellers, the council expects it to increase to about a million from 860,000 last year.

Indonesia remains the top revenue contributor, accounting for 70% of total revenue. But Sherene said the council hopes to see greater contributions from markets like India, China, Vietnam and Myanmar in future.

“The bulk of the patients are still coming from within the region, such as Indonesia, but we are seeing growing numbers from China and India, as well as the Middle East,” she told a press conference at the launch of the “ShareMyLove” campaign here yesterday.

Sherene said the top five medical services offered in Malaysia are cardiology, oncology, orthopaedic services, in vitro fertilisation and blood disease-related treatments.

According to her, quality healthcare services offered at affordable prices is what sets Malaysia’s medical tourism industry apart from its regional and international peers such as Thailand, Singapore and South Korea.

“Quality is not compromised by pricing, as prices are regulated [by the health ministry],” she said, adding that in some of the other countries there is often no ceiling price on charges for international travellers.

“South Korea offers very niche medical treatments such as cosmetic care, Singapore is known for the complexity of medical cases that are covered, and Thailand’s large tourism numbers contribute significantly to its medical tourism industry, but these countries tend to have very high costs for international health travellers,” she added.

MHTC was set up in 2005 under the health ministry to oversee the nation’s dual heritage of hospitality and medical innovation. It promotes Malaysia as a destination of choice for world-class healthcare services.

#sharemylove is the main theme behind the ongoing “Malaysia Loves You” campaign launched on Feb 29 last year. It features paintings from seven up-and-coming Malaysian artists, is aimed at creating further awareness of Malaysia as a global leader in healthcare tourism, and runs until Sept 16.