According to the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), Malaysia's medical tourism revenue this year is expected to fall by 75% during the 2019 Covid-19 pandemic.
Malaysia is one of the most common and preferred health tourism destinations, accounting for 60 percent of people from Indonesia; the public and private sectors are in Malaysia with a dual health system.
Malaysia provides tourists from different medical fields, as well as medical tourists from Southeast ASEAN countries, from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the USA.
“With travel restrictions in place as well as the changes in consumer behavior, we expect the health care travel market to be smaller in 2020 and beyond. As such, we have revised our revenue for 2020 to RM500 million by the end of the year, which is 70 to 75 percent less than 2019,” MHTC chief executive officer Sherene Azli said in a recent interview with CodeBlue.
“Before the pandemic, we were on track to see exponential growth, especially since the nation was on its way to boost the travel and tourism industry here via ‘Visit Malaysia Year 2020’ and ‘Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020’ (MyHT2020).”
According to former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in 2018 the country's medical tourism produced revenue of RM1,5 billion from 1.2 million healthcare travellers.
He also noted earlier that medical tourism here has grown 17 per cent a year between 2015 and 2018, reflecting a 'rapidly growing' market.
Like all international tourists, medical visitors in Malaysia must be screened at their country of origin or the main port of Malaysia for Covid-19 with a swab examination. Medical tourists are then sent for quarantine and treatment to their chosen hospitals.
“In terms of the health care travel bubble, we are currently accepting health care travellers from all countries, but with added caution with regards to patient entry. As stated in our current SOPs, patient entry is subject to Immigration approval facilitated by MHTC,” Sherene stated.
“This is in the greater interest of the nation and as always, the safety of Malaysians is our topmost priority.”
MHTC also expressed its wish to enable the country’s economy and to resume health care travel activities safely for both inbound patients and national security.
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