There is a plan to set up a Sabah health and wellness tourism council to market Malaysian state, Sabah, as a medical tourism destination. Local politicians are working with the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), and local medical group Medisinar to set up a one-stop centre for all matters related to health and medical tourism.
The aim is to provide impetus and focus to promote Sabah’s health and wellness tourism globally.
A 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 (US$1.68m) in health and wellness tourism, compared to the national revenue of RM1.4 billion (US$320m).
It is thought SHWTC could help medical travellers with inquiries, and work with policies and programmes on healthcare and wellness travel development and promotion.
It wants to collaborate with the STB on how to effectively advertise this area and attract people from neighbouring countries, particularly travellers from Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region seeking health and wellness treatment in Sabah.
STB has said it will work closely with members of the local medical community to make Sabah a choice of destination for medical tourism.
Penang and Malacca already have state healthcare tourism councils, and this is also in line with STB efforts to attract high-end travellers.
There are suggestions that SHWTC considers including representatives from relevant government and private agencies as members.
STB already promotes medical tourism through the MHTC. It says it is prepared to work with SHWTC to exchange experience and skills to develop a viable package for medical tourism in the state.