Penang holds the number one spot for medical tourism in the country- Dr. Mary Ann

By TIN Media | Featured Story Published 1 year ago on 25 September 2020
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The three-day World Hospitality, Lifestyle, and Entertainment Exhibition and Conference (WHOLE PENANG 2020) began on 10th September at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Bayan Lepas. The opening ceremony was officiated by YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia.

TIN Media had organised a Hybrid Forum Series During WHOLE 2020 to connect the Live & Virtual Audience to the Experts Panel of Speakers to discuss & share the knowledge on various topics that can help the industry players to be future-ready. The hybrid forum discussion on “Malaysia - An Emerging Global Giant in Medical Tourism” where the panel members were Dr. Mary Ann Harris, Executive Director - Penang Centre of Medical Tourism (PMED), En Mohd Shahril Zainal, Head of Marketing Services - Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and Dr.Chan Kok Ewe, Founding Chairman - Penang Health Association. The discussion was moderated by Presanth Chandra - Co-Founder of TIN MEDIA.

Dr. Mary Ann Harris, Executive Director - Penang Centre of Medical Tourism (PMED) said that the medical industry has been very established in Penang for many years now, it gradually has been built up over the years, and now it is the largest revenue generator in the country. In 2018, according to MHTC statistics, Penang generated about 61 percent of the total medical tourism revenue for Malaysia. It is expected that the global tourism market is to reach 207.9 billion US dollars by 2027 and Malaysia has a sizable share on that estimated about 1 billion ringgit. 

She said “Penang has won the number-one spot for medical tourism in the country. According to the International Medical Journal that gave the award for health and medical tourism destination of the year in 2015 and 2016.”

She added “Penang is very successful because it has many USPs e.g. the doctors are residents in the hospitals, the doctors are internationally trained which shows the diversity in training and expertise. Also, Malaysia’s primary market is Indonesia as 90 percent of the patients come from there. Also, Penang is affordable in terms of medical tourism”.

On making Malaysia the most sort medical tourism hub she said “improving flight connectivity is foremost, as there aren’t many flights moving into the state. Secondly, the hassle-free visa approval process for both patients and caregivers because for long-term treatment- it is important and it usually hampers the treatment. Thirdly, more publicity and awareness are required because Penang is affordable compared tom Singapore, USA, or Australia.

Dr.Chan Kok Ewe, Founding Chairman - Penang Health Association said “Penang’s medical treatment is world-class and because of that we decided people outside the country can make use of what we have. We focus on promoting Penang for medical tourism and not any individual hospitals. Every day thousands of patients come to Penang for medical treatment. The revenue brought by medical tourism is huge so we should continue promoting medical tourism.”

He added “Malaysia has to continually improve the medical care and go into a higher level and have to be very pleasing to deal with patients. We have all the good factors, we just need to capitalise on those things.”

En Mohd Shahril Zainal, Head of Marketing Services - Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) said once we overcome the pandemic and everything opens up, I think it will be great to start the medical tourism. At MHTC, we are looking out for the overall economy especially during this challenging period. It’s important to rebuilding the economy as the industry has been affected badly during the pandemic.

He added “For the past 10 years, Malaysia’s medical tourism has been recognised greatly. On top of that, we are responsible for achieving the target, but in 2019 we managed to get about 1.3 million healthcare travellers. Revenue wise, entirely Malaysia gained about 170 percent increase in 2019 which is great.

For more insight, you can watch the entire episode over here 


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