GEORGE TOWN: Penang has contributed about 50 % of the total medical tourist arrivals for the whole country, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya. According to him, there are about 1,000 patients a day coming to Penang for their medical treatment. "They come to Penang to seek treatment in private hospitals in our country because they are confident with the medical services here," he said during a press conference after launching Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) Concierge and Lounge at Penang International Airport (PIA). Hilmi also pointed out that medical tourism is a big industry for this country which saw an overall increase of 15 % over the past two years. "Revenue-wise, medical tourism brought about RM594 million in 2012 and RM690 million in 2013. "This year we are expecting to collect about RM700 million," he added. MHTC Concierge and Lounge at PIA has been fully operational since July to provide a seamless healthcare travel experience for both medical tourism and patients. The one-stop centre in PIA is the second to be set up in this country after klia2 to further boost and develop medical tourism in the region by providing a continuous healthcare travel experience. Meanwhile, in the same press conference, Hilmi told reporters that a proposal to exempt 2,900 types of medicine prices from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) next year has been sent to Putrajaya. However, the proposal is still at discussion level and has not been finalised yet. "We will also discuss with pharmacists and stakeholders on how to regulate medicine prices after the implementation of GST," he said.