Why healthcare tourism is surging in Malaysia?

The Malaysia healthcare market is growing because of its arising medical tourism industry and lesser cost of medical services compared to the developed countries. It is impacting strongly on the growth of the medical tourism market in Malaysia. The healthcare expenditure in Canada and US is relatively expensive. It has a longer waiting period which leads to shift in the preference of the patients to the other countries where healthcare facilities are better. It is likely to trigger the development of the medical tourism market in Malaysia. Additionally, another factor activating the rise of the healthcare market in Malaysia is the low language barrier and presence of enhanced healthcare infrastructure.

Transparency Market Research (TMR) shows that the Malaysia healthcare tourism market is highly competitive because of existence of number of companies working in the market. Some of the main companies working in the Malaysia medical tourism market are Pantai Holdings Berhad, Dentalpro Group, KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Island Hospital, and Prince Court Medical Centre.

Presently, Malaysia’s focus is to entice medical tourists by aiming to control the coronavirus outbreak as the pandemic has limited its ability to reopen borders.

Hospitals in the country can look forward to earn around RM800 million (S$263.6 million) of revenue from healthcare tourists next year, in comparison with RM500 million this year, according to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council.

“We may not have a normal travel behaviour pattern returning soon,” the council’s chief executive Sherene Azli said.

Malaysia started permitting healthcare tourists from six countries, including Singapore, Japan and Australia, to enter from the month of July.

But it has stopped citizens of many countries when there were more than 150,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Those cases were traced back to the visitors from other countries.

“We may not have a normal travel behavior pattern returning soon,” the council’s Chief Executive Officer Sherene Azli said in an interview. “Before this we thought that the borders, the pandemic will go earlier than expected, now we are thinking borders will not be relaxed even in mid-2021 or even at the end of 2021.”

Malaysia look forward to getting fewer than 300,000 medical tourists this year, compared with 1.2 million previous year, said Ms Sherene.

She further said that hospitals has resorted to giving online consultations and ideas to focus on enhancing services for cancer, heart diseases and fertility treatment during this time.

“We feel that is a strong trust that we can build for Malaysia in terms of delivering world-class quality healthcare.”

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