Malaysia Prepares For Post-Pandemic Resurgence In Medical Tourism

National agency Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is priming industry players for the challenges of a post-pandemic world, starting with the “insigHT2021” conference.

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, Malaysia’s medical tourism industry had been growing year over year, contributing US$400 million to the national economy in 2019. In that year alone, the country welcomed 1.2 million visitors seeking medical services and treatments ranging from fertility, cardiology and oncology to orthopedics, neurology and health screenings.

World-class Healthcare

“Our strength as a key player in the medical tourism industry lies in our easily accessible world-class healthcare services offered at a comparatively affordable price thanks to government-regulated ceiling rates,” says Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, the CEO of MHTC.

MHTC CEO, Mohd Daud Mohd Arif

“Once known as the ‘Hidden Jewel of Asia’ for medical tourism, we have since been recognized as the Destination of the Year for healthcare travel from 2015 to 2017, and most recently in 2020, awarded by the International Medical Travel Journal,” continues Mohd Daud.

“With over 200 private hospitals and many highly qualified physicians and specialists, waiting time for consultations and treatments is minimal. There is no barrier to communication as English is widely spoken and translators can easily be arranged for non-English speakers. For post-treatment options, Malaysia has a myriad of world-class spas and resorts, wellness centers and health-centric tourist attractions on offer, although this may be limited at the present time due to the pandemic,” he adds.

MHTC is an agency under the Ministry of Health tasked with promoting Malaysia as an international healthcare destination. The agency also serves as a one-stop center for all matters related to healthcare travel—ranging from handling of inquiries and business development to safeguarding regulations and facilitating applications.

Forging Resilience

The insigHT virtual conference held in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Malaysia, like most countries around the world, is emerging from the pandemic with a slew of initiatives to kickstart the economy, and “forging industry resilience” is one of the key strategies. In line with this, an upcoming virtual conference by MHTC with a similar theme, named insigHT2021, will be held from November 16 to 18. 

Held annually, the event is a medical travel market intelligence conference that gathers thought leaders and partners from within the country and abroad to collaborate and advance the healthcare travel industry in Malaysia and the region.

The conference will gather some of the top minds from around the world to discuss topics ranging from the future of healthcare and implementation of travel passports to the convergence of hospitality and wellness, and how the industry can work together to achieve common goals.

Besides hospital and healthcare administrators, the conference is expected to attract industry players, professionals and officials from travel, tourism, pharmaceutical, real estate, government and many other sectors.

“New global tourism trends will emerge in 2022, and the future of travel will be impacted by socio-economic shifts, digital innovations and new travel experiences. As professionals in the industry, we must be prepared for what lies ahead and forge resilience,” says Michel Julian, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s program officer and one of the key speakers at the upcoming conference.

Conference participants from around 40 countries will get the chance to exchange ideas and knowledge with peers through private online meetings and roundtable discussions. Participants will also get the opportunity to build their company’s visibility among industry players while brushing up on upcoming trends and post-pandemic recovery strategies. An e-business card download facility will be available to make it easy for participants to expand their networks and connect with their peers.

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