KUALA LUMPUR (April 25): Malaysia will cash in on the healthy growth of medical tourism this year, with projected hospital revenue of RM1.8 billion from healthcare travellers generating an economic impact worth RM6 billion, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
Dr Dzulkefly said this target is based on the RM1.5 billion in revenue receipts in 2018 from more than 1.2 million traveller arrivals.
“Healthcare travel is one of the fastest growing industries, recording double-digit growth compared with the 0.1 percent growth recorded by the tourism industry alone in 2017,” he told reporters after delivering the keynote address at the Asia Pacific Healthcare and Medical Tourism Summit 2019 here.
Dr Dzulkefly said the local medical tourism industry has been flourishing, from just 643,000 health travellers in 2011 to a high of more than 1.2 million in 2018.
This growth contributed almost RM3 billion to RM4 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he said.
This calculation is based on a multiplier effect of 2.24 times of the hospital receipts, which factors in out-of-hospital spending such as wellness, transportation, accommodation and tourism activities, he noted.
Commenting further, Dr Dzulkefly said Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar and India have been identified as the core markets based on the volume of healthcare travellers, as well as the growth potential of the respective markets.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Dzulkefly said Malaysia is a healthcare destination for all as it was recognised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for having a successful healthcare model for developing nations.
In addition, Malaysia’s healthcare system is a dichotomous and effective foundation of the public and private sectors complementing each other in providing high-quality medical services to Malaysians.
“Within this dual system we have found that Malaysia’s private healthcare sector has both service capacity and medical expertise to serve beyond the Malaysian demand, hence this is where healthcare travel comes into play and is now being pursued within our healthcare landscape,” he said.
According to Dr Dzulkefly, Malaysia’s healthcare services have been presented as a comprehensive and affordable package over the years, with all the right ingredients for healthcare travellers, including world-class quality and easy accessibility.
Thus, the Ministry stands as a gatekeeper for safety, regulation and enhancement of quality service offerings in the industry, including regulating the medical services with ceiling rates, for the safety and protection of healthcare travellers.
The summit was organised by Global Health and Travel to promote cross-border knowledge exchange on all things relating to healthcare travel, perfecting best practices and bringing positive collaboration for the future of healthcare globally.