Attracting Indonesian healthcare tourists a priority for local health industry

04 Sep 2018 / 10:13 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The local healthcare industry is targeting to get at least one million health tourists from Indonesia by 2020, according to Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) CEO Sherene Azil.
He said in 2017 just over one million healthcare tourists visited the country for medical care, which resulted in revenue of RM1.3 billion.
"Of the million healthcare tourists about 600,000 were Indonesians.
"Penang was the top destination of the healthcare tourists with 60% visiting the island for treatment," she said at a press conference after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with AirAsia Indonesia.
AirAsia Indonesia flies to Penang twice daily from Jakarta, thrice daily from Medan and thrice weekly from Surabaya. She said the MoU will see both parties jointly promoting Penang as the country's top healthcare tourism destination.
Sherene added that the aim is to provide a seamless service from the time the healthcare tourists leave their country to when they return home.
"At present Malaysia is ranked eighth in the healthcare tourism industry and the target is to be among the top three by 2025.
"To achieve this target the most important thing is built trust with those visiting the country for healthcare and to provide them with up to date information on all the care facilities available," she said.
According to Sherene, MHTC also aims to develop Malaysia as a hub of excellence for cardiology and fertility treatment. The National Heart Institute is well known around the world and Malaysia is also known for its fertility treatment success rate, which is better than the world's benchmark.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, who was also present at the press conference, said Malaysia ranked tops for healthcare from 2015 to 2017 by two world ranking groups.
He said there was no Sales and Service Tax on hospital bills and this would be another attraction for healthcare tourists.
He added that the ministry regulated the charges that private hospitals can impose on patients therefore patients, even those from abroad, know they will not be overcharged.
He said with China having lifted the one child policy in 2015, many couples in their 40s need fertility help to get another child and that by promoting Malaysia's success as a fertility hub many Chinese couples have and will opt to come here for treatment.
He said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a walking testimony of the ability of local cardiologists to treat heart related problems.

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