While the once thriving healthcare travel industry received a major blow due the pandemic, the industry has now steadily started moving towards recovery. In a recently conducted industry poll by Pharmaceutical Technologies, 52% of members surveyed opined that the industry will take one to three years to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.
It is therefore vital for all industry players to understand market operations, keep updated on the constantly evolving healthcare travel landscape and how other countries are adapting to this change. This is especially true for the Asia Pacific region with an estimated healthcare travel potential to reach USD19.87 billion by 2025.
Continuity of care is imperative for us at Malaysia Healthcare, thus, we have amplified our focus on utilising digital initiatives for this purpose. Our recent collaboration with digital healthcare provider, DoctorOnCall, will enable our 75 member hospitals to stay connected with foreign patients digitally. This further builds trust in the Malaysia Healthcare brand while ensuring that patients are able to reach our experienced consultants at any time for further medical counsel.
Malaysia is also in the process of establishing travel bubbles with several other Asian countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Tourism Malaysia’s Director General Zulkifly Md Said mentioned that the government plans to attract essential and leisure travellers into the country via the travel bubbles to revitalise the tourism and culture industry as the country recovers from the pandemic. This reflects positively on the revitalisation of Malaysia’s healthcare travel sector as well.
That said, Malaysia Healthcare will continue to work with other industry leaders, build private-public partnerships, and continuously revise the SOPs based on the severity of the pandemic, so healthcare travellers can gain access to Malaysia’s safe and trusted healthcare facilities.
While the industry suffered a major setback in the past year, there is a renewed spirit globally and especially within Asia to bring the industry back to full force. For example, Indonesia last week announced plans to develop a special Health Special Economic Zone focusing on medical tourism serving elderly tourists. India, on the other hand, is developing medical visas for foreign nationals who want to access Ayurveda and Naturopathy treatments in the country.
This goes to show that healthcare travel industry is starting to work on its’ slow but steady road to recovery. All parties involved in uplifting the industry will need to work together in building a sustainable ecosystem for healthcare travel by implementing new strategies and ensuring continuity of patient care.