Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is soon to launch an industry blueprint for 2021-2025 to guide the country’s medical travel industry forward, involve all stakeholders in the recovery plan, and provide the best experience for healthcare travellers.
The main priority is to forge resilience for the industry to steer the path towards realising the blueprint’s objective by 2025.
Malaysia relies heavily on international medical travellers, with over half being from Indonesia.
The pandemic has put a great dent in the industry, owing to lockdowns and border restrictions. MHTC recognises that concerted efforts from both the public and private healthcare players must include cross-collaboration with tourism stakeholders and industry networks abroad.
MHTC has said it will focus on building confidence in Malaysia as a safe and trusted healthcare travel destination, especially within target markets including Indonesia and China.
The Council is working closely with member hospitals to determine other markets to focus on, such as the Middle East, which is a favourable source of travellers for Malaysia due to its standing as a global halal hub.
It has said it will continue to build trust through engagement with all stakeholders locally and internationally for Malaysia’s medical travel sector via industry-driven initiatives such as the insigHT2021 conference, which will be held virtually from 16-18 November.
Malaysia’s medical tourism is expected to generate RM7 billion (US$1.67bn) for the economy by 2025 through medical travellers spending on medical, tourism, transportation, hotels, food and beverages, and other services.
To ensure the industry is on track for a rebound, medical and health tourism providers have been encouraged to update standard operating procedures and infrastructure to support and deliver a safe patient experience.
Providers have been encouraged to offer assurance on patient safety from arrival, throughout treatment and upon returning home. This should be done mainly via digital publicity and branding campaigns, providing patient support, and enhancing end-to-end infrastructure including digital adoption.
In a boost for domestic medical travel, Melaka, Genting Highlands and Tioman Island have followed Langkawi Island as travel bubble destinations for domestic tourism. Melaka International Airport has been proposed to serve as an air ambulance parking hub and a stepping-stone for boosting medical tourism to the state. The hub can provide flights to ferry and transfer patients to three private hospitals and one government hospital in Melaka.
The Melaka Tourism Association wants the service to be made available to Indonesians through charter flights since the demand for treatment in Malaysia, especially to Melaka, is extremely high. Melaka normally sees patients from Indonesia and Singapore for problems they have difficulty accessing at home including chronic neuro, cancer and gynaecology cases.