Malaysia sets out to regain medical tourism lead position

Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is going full throttle on medical tourism now that the country has reopened to international travel, with hopes of reviving the once booming sector.

The Malaysia medical travel sector boasted a compound annual growth rate of 16 per cent from 2015 to 2019 against the Asia-Pacific region performance of 15 per cent during the same period. In fact, 2019 was a record-breaking year for the sector, with some 1.3 million medical traveller arrivals on record, making Malaysia the top destination for medical tourism in the world.

Mohd Daud: We are ready to accommodate potential healthcare patients and provide affordable and easily accessible healthcare without compromising on quality

This year, the country has pinned a goal of at least RM800 million (US$189 million) in revenue from health tourism, with travellers from Indonesia, Greater China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UK on its radar.

Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, CEO, MHTC, told TTG Asia: “The marketing focus aligns with MHTC’s Blueprint 2021-2025, focusing on building on existing offerings and enhancing the Malaysia Healthcare experience through niche branding initiatives that are tailored to our target markets.

“To support the full reopening of our borders, we recently organised the Malaysia Healthcare Expo 2022 Jakarta (MHX 2022 Jakarta) last month. We successfully organised a physical event in Jakarta together with some of the nation’s leading private hospitals and state tourism representatives to showcase a wide range of world-class healthcare services and offerings to healthcare travellers from Indonesia.

“To continue the momentum, we will also be organising MHX 2022 in Surabaya and Medan in the coming months.”

MHTC will also continue to organise its annual insigHT2022 in the second half of this year. This conference serves as a catalyst for cross collaboration, attracting industry players across various sectors of the value chain to enhance Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry and continue to raise the country’s profile as a safe and trusted destination for healthcare.

In retrospect, Mohd Daud said the Covid-19 pandemic had presented an opportunity for Malaysia “to re-evaluate current business models and deliberate on the improvements needed within the healthcare travel ecosystem to ensure its future sustainability”.

He shared: “We understood the need to continue forging industry resilience via stronger public-private partnerships with stakeholders and key industry players to rebuild and recover the industry in a sustainable manner.

“We doubled our efforts and worked closely with key players from the public sector, such as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tourism Malaysia, the Immigration Department, Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Health as well as agencies from the private sector such as healthcare, wellness, hospitality, tourism and transportation. This was to ensure that we are ready to accommodate potential healthcare patients and provide affordable and easily accessible healthcare without compromising on quality.”

MHTC also works closely with a group of healthcare travel facilitators in target markets, serving as its extended arm to run marketing and promotional activities and to raise the destination’s profile.

MHTC will kickstart its Affiliate Membership Programme to continue upskilling these facilitators in order to provide the best healthcare travel experience.

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