The Sabah Health and Wellness Tourism Council (SHWTC) may be set up to promote the state as a health and wellness tourism destination.
Based on the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) data in 2018, Sabah only generated RM7.4 million in health and wellness tourism compared to the national revenue of RM1.4 billion.
The council would act as a one-stop centre for all matters related to the health paradigm, from assisting health travellers with inquiries, to facilitating enquiries on policies and programmes on healthcare and wellness travel development and promotion.
The council pro-tem committee chairman Dr Anil Kumar told this to Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai during a courtesy call at the Sabah Tourism Board office here.
Dr Anil, who is Medisinar managing director also invited Joniston to be the council's advisor.
"The council aims to provide impetus and focus to place Sabah health and wellness tourism on the world stage.
"We have the infrastructures and facilities. It will be a new market as far as tourism is concerned for the state of Sabah, bringing high revenue.
"We want to collaborate with the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) on how we can effectively advertise this area and attract people from neighbouring countries, particularly the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region, to seek health and wellness treatment in Sabah," he said.
Joniston assured that the STB would work closely with members of the local medical community to make Sabah a choice of destination for healthcare tourism.
"Penang and Malacca already have their state healthcare tourism councils, so the move is timely. Accordingly, this is also in line with STB efforts to attract high-end travellers."
Joniston suggested for the SHWTC consider including representatives from relevant government and private agencies as members.
STB chief executive officer Noredah Othman said they had started the promotion of medical tourism through the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council.
She said STB was prepared to get on board with SHWTC to exchange experience and skills to develop a viable package for medical tourism in the state.
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