Malaysia aims to generate up to RM1.8 billion in hospital receipts from healthcare tourism this year, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said this would be higher than the revenue generated by healthcare tourism last year, which was RM1.5 billion.
“The number of healthcare travellers has increased from 643,000 in 2011 to 1.2 million in 2018,” Dr Dzulkefly said during the Asia Pacific Healthcare and Medical Tourism Summit 2019.
He added the growth of travellers has contributed between RM3 and RM4 billion to the country’s GDP alone.
“Now there is a need to ensure the best practices and decorum, especially for soft skills, so as to attract more healthcare travellers.
“Our state of technology should also be constantly improved, so that the patients’ cross-cultural expectations can be met,” Dzulkefly said, adding that the best form of advertising was by word of mouth.
He cited several examples of medical fields attracting healthcare travellers to the country, such as fertility treatment.
“Malaysia is a fertility hub, with five of the 23 facilities certified by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (from Australia) in the country.
“Likewise, the collaborative efforts between the National Heart Association and the ministry over time have led the country to develop a reputable history for cardiology treatment,” Dzulkefly said.
To further stimulate healthcare tourism, he said next year will also be the Malaysian Year of Healthcare Travel 2020.
“Malaysia has all the right ingredients and offers healthcare travellers a seamless journey towards recovery and wellness, promising quality care for peace of mind.
“This initiative intends to propel Malaysia to the world stage as a reputable global healthcare travel destination, as well as to increase the economic impact contributed by both the health and tourism sectors,” Dzulkefly said.