Malaysia, which is on a programme to turn itself into a high-income nation, is leveraging its diverse and sophisticated healthcare sector to make it an important medical tourist destination in the region.

The Asean nation recently launched its “Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020” (MyHT2020) programme to attract the region’s medical tourist to the country, which boasts more than 70 private healthcare institutions dedicated to give quality cross-border experience.

Launched in Kuala Lumpur in October by Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Amiruddin Hamzah, it was organised by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, with distinguished guests and 80 journalists from different countries present.

Travellers to Malaysia will find it friendly to foreigners and it is a multi-cultural country.

Most Malaysians speak English and other common Asian languages, such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Bahasa Indonesia, Tamil and Hindi.

Amiruddin is confident that Malaysia can achieve the MyHT2020 target.

In terms of cost, medical tourists can expect to save between 65 per cent and 80 per cent compared to the US, and the medical tourism industry in Malaysia has provided award-winning healthcare facilities to over 4.9 million medical travellers from all over the world

Among the treatments popular among medical tourists include orthopedics, ophthalmology, cardiology, IVF, neurology, gastroenterology, oncology, dentistry, cosmetic surgery and health screening.

According to Amiruddin, Malaysia has a truly unique healthcare travel experience that combines world class healthcare services that are accessible, affordable with quality and complemented by the warm Malaysian hospitality.

Statistics have indicated that from 2011-2018, Malaysia’s inbound travel has experienced nearly double digit growth in the healthcare sector.

In 2018 alone, Malaysia healthcare industry saw a total of 1.2 million inbound international healthcare travellers with an estimated total hospital revenue of RM1.5 billion ($350 million).

In his speech during the launch of Healthcare Travel 2020, Amiruddin said that “Malaysia has so much to offer with numerous medical breakthroughs, a growing medical device industry and its famed Malaysian hospitality, we have what it takes to be the top global destination for healthcare”.

Malaysia boasts over 70 private healthcare institutions dedicated to give quality cross-border experience.

According to him, healthcare travel comprises some 7.6 per cent of total tourism revenues and is expected to grow rapidly in the near future.

He added that a target has been set for the Malaysia’s healthcare sector to deliver over RM2 billion ($478.47 million) in hospital revenues and an estimated total economic impact of RM8 billion ($1.9 billion) for 2020.

Amiruddin added that he is confident that the MyHT2020 campaign will achieve the target.

“The Ministry of Finance plays its role by facilitating the emergence of an ecosystem in which the industry can thrive. Through incentives such as the Investment Tax Allowance, more than RM10 billion [$2.4 billion] in investments have been generated within the healthcare travel sector, with over 15,000 jobs created,” he said.

Meanwhile, the International Medical Travel Journal, has voted Malaysia “Destination of the year” for healthcare travel three years consecutively.

About 80 foreign journalists and local officials attend the MyHT2020 launch ceremony.

It reported that “Malaysia continues to both facilitate and fascinate healthcare travellers from all over the world”.

In addition, the Malaysian government ensures strict regulatory compliance across all services reassuring healthcare seekers peace of mind that quality is at top of the agenda.

Based on the volume of healthcare travellers, as well as growth potential of the respective markets, Malaysia has identified Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, China and India as core markets.

Malaysia’s healthcare has not only set standards, it has redefined the industry expectations of what it means to truly offer a holistic healthcare travel experience.

It is a testimony of Malaysia’s success providing an excellent healthcare travel destination that has been acknowledgedby fellow industry peers and experts across the globe.