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Saturday January 29, 2011

Medical tourism hale and hearty

GEORGE TOWN: Medical tourism raked in an estimated RM230mil in revenue for Penang last year.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law said this was an increase from RM162mil in 2009.

He said the number of foreign patients who sought medical treatment in Penang increased from 202,000 in 2009 to 250,000 last year, adding that most of them were from Indonesia.

“This is due to the new air route introduced by AirAsia from Surabaya to Penang which has brought in new patients from Surabaya,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Law said 70% of revenue from medical tourism in the country was contributed by hospitals in Penang.

“This was mainly possible because of the co-operation between the seven hospitals which practise healthy competition and even work together during promotions overseas,” he added.

He said medical tourism had spurred the growth of related sectors such as taxi services, hotels and the food industry.

Law also said domestic and international tourist arrivals to Penang increased to 4.1 million last year from 3.3 million in 2009.

He said Indonesians topped the list of tourist arrivals to Penang last year followed by Singaporeans, Chinese nationals, Japanese and Americans.

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