The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) has highlighted Malaysia’s effort to ensure the continuity of healthcare travel to remain established as a key economic area during this challenging time.
“Medical tourism is growing exponentially because of the spending power in which travelers are looking for the best medical attention. Hence, the urgency is for us to revitalise the economy through medical tourism,” Nik Yazmin Nik Azman, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHTC said during the BizTalk with Eurocham session.
Malaysia has a strong reputation for medical tourism and is listed as one of the top medical tourism destinations in 2018 as we offer affordability with similar quality which cannot be found in developed countries.
“In Penang, the number of medical travelers coming from several nationalities tend to multiple and that signifies our strong position and we do have a lot to offer,” Yazmin added.
Safety and travel restrictions are the primary concerns as of now.
“We can’t fully restore healthcare travel until borders are reopened and we have developed the herd immunity in our population. Thus, it’s the time to address the ecosystem and strengthen the value chain so once we bounce back we can run everything in a smooth way to alleviate the worries for medical travelers,” Yazmin said.
MHTC also aims to bring tactical strategy and development to drive the market growth as well as the shares.
While medical travel is on the rise, Yazmin also highlighted the challenges of the new post-Covid environment for healthcare tourism.
“There have been changes in patient psyches such as increase of resistance to travel due to fear and distrust.”
The perspectives of medical travelers now have shifted whereas the country which showcased effective outbreak handling, will likely be their next medical destination.
Hence, bringing back the trust is pivotal to ensure Malaysia is on their list.
Additionally, telehealth can potentially disrupt the sector. Telehealth is good to assist and replace medical follow-ups that can be done virtually, however, it cannot replace physical treatment and assessments