The Malaysian government is targeting a direct revenue of MYR 800 million (USD 191.09 million) and MYR 1.7 billion (USD 410 million) from the medical tourism sector in 2022 and 2025 respectively via the initiatives outlined in the country’s Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021 – 2025, launched in November 2021. The sector has recorded a constant double-digit growth between 2015 and 2019 with a CAGR of 16.3% recorded in the period. While Malaysia received over 1.22 million international healthcare travelers in 2019, the medical tourism sector recorded significant losses in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. The closure of international borders during the period caused the sector to record a drop of MYR 2.2 billion (USD 530 million) in direct revenue.
Through the blueprint under the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), the government has outlined the initiatives to revive the sector through several strategic pillars, including developing a stronger brand for Malaysia’s healthcare sector to help it stand out against its APAC competitors, improving the healthcare travel ecosystem to ensure a seamless experience, and focusing on growth in core markets and new markets penetration.
As part of the implementation program, MHTC will be enhancing digital touchpoints in the patient experience journey, capitalizing on Malaysia’s international reputation as the Cardiology and Fertility Hub of Asia, and developing a flagship medical tourism hospital program by selecting recognized private hospitals on par with international hospitals as icons for healthcare travel.
In addition, MHTC is planning to position Malaysia as the Hepatitis C Treatment Hub of Asia, as in July 2021 it became the first country in the world to receive conditional approval for the combined use of antiviral drugs Ravidasvir and Sofosbuvir, which provide affordable and efficacious treatment at 97% cure rate for the infection. MHTC is also working with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to develop an International Retirement Living program to leverage Malaysia’s standing as an international retirement living destination.
(Sources: Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council; CodeBlue; LaingBuisson)