Can Malaysia build closer ties to tour operators?

At the 2022 World Travel Market (WTM) in the UK,  Government agency, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), targeted tour operators, agents and airlines in a bid to promote the destination for medical tourism as well as leisure.  Will the travel trade be persuaded to include medical treatment options as part of their holiday packages to the country?

MHTC hoped to sign up 10 tour operators at WTM.  Their target was those showing interest in adding value to their tours by offering preventative medical care and wellness.

The agency pledged to hand hold operators and talk them through the process and the revenue potential available for medical treatment and related offerings, initially likely to include general medical screenings, eye and dental check-ups plus fertility treatment at private hospitals.

Operators who sign up will have online briefing sessions on what they need to know to sell medical services.  They will be linked to private hospitals so they can work out a revenue sharing arrangement between the hospital and the operator or agency.

MHTC admits that it is a challenge to encourage operators to add a healthcare element to traditional leisure-only packages. The logic is that it is easier to sell destinations and experiences as compared to medical care, so MHTC seeks to be the bridge between the two players.

MHTC wants people to know what it can offer at what price. It seeks to build the confidence for people to travel there and seek treatment and ensure the travel trade and their customers know Malaysia has a lot to offer.

The destination is promoting itself as affordable, good quality and easily accessible for healthcare and offering a smooth process of travel and care in private hospitals.

The destination is confident of reaching pre-pandemic patient visitor levels by 2024 if not sooner.