SERI KEMBANGAN: Last year, health tourism drew 850,000 health tourists from around the world, earning medical centres more than RM900 million.
This was revealed by Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam at a press conference after the Health Forum 2016
The tourists came mostly from Bangladesh, Indonesia, China and African countries.
Subramaniam said health tourism had been growing over the years, noting that in 2014, the industry raked in RM777 million alone for medical centres.
“This was the revenue generated from hospitals alone,
“We have yet to include additional expenses by medical tourists, such as hotel and other expenses.”
He said the revenue from the supporting industries was almost three times that of the revenue from medical centres.
He said for 2016, the government targeted a revenue of RM1.2 billion for medical centres.
The MIC president said Malaysia wanted to compete with Thailand and Singapore, who were major players in the industry, and that Malaysia did not want to lose out.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council Chief Executive Officer Sherene Azli told FMT that Malaysia was the among the top three destinations in Asia for health tourism.
She said this was due to the quality and affordability of health tourism in the country, as well as other supporting factors, including accessibility, accommodation and attractions.
Sherene noted that three of the top 10 largest shopping malls in the world were located in the country.
She said Malaysia had many selling points but what was lacking was awareness about Malaysia being a health tourism destination.
She said industry players had to be more creative in terms of advertising due to existing regulations which were aimed at protecting consumers.
Sherene called on everyone from industry players and even the public to help spread the word about Malaysia being a quality health tourism destination.