During a roadshow of GCC countries taking place around the annual Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Tourism Malaysia Director – GCC, Mr Shahrin Mokhtar, confirmed the importance of the Kuwaiti and the Middle East tourism market for Malaysia. Malaysia is targeting international patients from this region too, as part of their Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 campaign.
Tourism Malaysia is stepping up its promotions this year in preparation of Visit Malaysia 2020, a high profile campaign that is targeted to bring in 30 million international tourists and US$28 billion (RM100 billion) in tourist receipts to the country.
The Middle East is seen as a key market for Malaysia, which was named the number one destination for Muslim travellers for nine consecutive years (2011–2019) by Singapore-based CrescentRating, a leading authority on Halal Travel. The ranking is based on an annual online survey covering several criteria, including the availability of Halal food, access to prayer facilities, Muslim-friendly services in hotels, and the overall safety and security of each destination. The growth of Muslim travel could be a potential opportunity for medical travel destinations.
Total tourist arrivals from West Asia stood at 355,733 in 2018, growing by 25% compared to the previous year. The number of visitors to Malaysia from Saudi Arabia increased by 11.7%, while UAE travellers increased by 9.7%. Oman recorded the biggest rise in visitor numbers to the country, at 36.9%. The value of tourist receipts from the region as a whole grew to KD 230 million (US$756m), an increase of 33%.
Malaysia Healthcare is leading the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 campaign to run in tandem with Visit Malaysia 2020. Celebrating health and an active lifestyle, the initiative is expected to play an important role in achieving the country’s ambitious visitor targets.