KUALA LUMPUR, October 11 – The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is gearing up for a rebound in medical tourism in the coming years, as more countries step up vaccination to safely reopen.
The agency takes the opportunity to capitalize on its experience of more than ten years in forging resilience and ensuring the sustainable and inclusive recovery of the medical tourism sector.
Malaysia’s medical tourism revenue is expected to generate between RM 480 and 520 million this year, thanks to MHTC’s range of regional collaborations and a five-year industry plan designed to boost medical travel and the resumption of tourism. In 2019, the country’s medical tourism generated RM 1.7 billion in revenue from 1.22 million healthcare travelers.
A plan for recovery
MHTC Managing Director Mohd Daud Mohd Arif said the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Plan 2021-2025 is being finalized and will be launched this year to guide the industry’s recovery. , which has the potential to contribute up to RM7 billion to the economy in 2025.
Going forward, MHTC will continue to focus on its existing offerings, while enhancing the Malaysia Healthcare experience through new and diverse segments for the long-term sustainability of the industry.
Malaysia currently has a success rate of one in two fertile patients for in vitro fertilization. In addition, Malaysia offers advanced treatments including oncofertility and artificial intelligence technology for fertility viability testing, further strengthening the country’s position as a fertility hub in Asia.
Worldwide, there are 30 fertility centers accredited by the International Reproductive Technology Accreditation Certification (RTAC), eight of which are in Malaysia.
Over the past decade, the country has also grown in popularity as a hub for cardiology in Asia due to its expert medical fraternity and healthcare infrastructure.
The National Heart Institute (IJN) became the first hospital outside of the United States to implant a Micra atrioventricular (AV) pacemaker, an implantable device for treating a slow heart rate via pacing. Developments like this are attracting a niche group of patients to Malaysia who are looking for quality care that is both reliable and affordable.
Malaysia has become the third Asia-Pacific country best prepared to fight cancer in a study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit published last year, and is gaining an international reputation as a center of excellence against cancer.
âBy leveraging our core strengths and cross-collaborations through our public-private partnerships, we believe Malaysia will be further propelled into the global landscape as a leading global destination for healthcare,â said Mohd Daud . Blue code in a recent interview.
Building resilient networks
To further foster collaborative approaches to industry recovery, this year will also see the return of insigHT – the region’s leading three-day medical travel market intelligence conference – centered around the theme “Forging resilience “, which will be held virtually from November 16 to 18. .
Hosted by MHTC, insigHT2021 will focus on how the global medical travel industry remains resilient to maneuver through uncertainties. âWe expect to receive around 800 attendees from over 30 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe as well as the United States, hosting over 40 speakers from different regions,â said Mohd Daud.
The global event will feature speakers from the World Health Organization (WHO), Mayo Clinic, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), McKinsey & Co, Association of international air transport (IATA), AirAsia Bhd and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). For more details and to register, visit www.mhtc.org.my/insigHT2021.
This runs alongside MHTC’s mission to revive the industry by building on existing confidence in Malaysia as a safe and reliable healthcare travel destination in target markets such as Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Brunei.
“This will be done through advertising and branding campaigns, providing support and facilitating end-to-end infrastructure, including digital adoption, as well as consolidating Malaysia as a thought leader in health care travel, âsaid Mohd Daud.
To achieve this, the MHTC works closely with member hospitals to determine other areas and markets to focus on, such as the Middle East.
Tourism Vaccine And Passports
Covid-19 vaccine tourism is a possible strategy as people seek to get vaccinated in a safe and trusted destination. Countries with an excess supply of vaccines could use this to attract travelers. However, the priority remains within each nation to ensure sufficient supplies for the local population, said Mohd Daud.
âPersonal safety is our top priority, and we hope that the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other authorities will apply the right mechanisms to ensure that the right protocol is in place regarding the reopening of borders and vaccine tourism, âhe said. noted.
He adds that while it is possible to introduce vaccine passports to facilitate international medical travel, the use of vaccine passports is still widely discussed globally by organizations such as the WHO.
A growing number of countries are considering turning to Covid-19 vaccine passports as a way to open up and get people traveling. However, the WHO maintained in April that proof of vaccination against the coronavirus should not be required for travel, amid uncertainty as to whether vaccination effectively eradicates transmission of the virus, in addition to the problems of ‘equity.
In the meantime, Mohd Daud said the adoption of telehealth services by MHTC member hospitals has allowed the country to stay ahead of the curve and strive to ensure continuity of care for patients.
This ranges from improving the telemedicine infrastructure of hospitals to setting up drug delivery services and improving cross-border digital payments.
âWe are working to build a robust digital infrastructure that builds confidence in the Malaysia Healthcare brand as international patients continue to receive on-demand care and consultations at World’s Healthcare Marvel.
âThis will further solidify Malaysia’s position as a safe and reliable healthcare destination as we continue to build and facilitate a more sustainable and immersive healthcare travel industry. “