KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) has revised downward the revenue target for medical tourism this year by 75% from its original target amid the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
It now expects medical tourism revenue for 2020 to reach RM500mil, with RM2bil in estimated economic impact.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, MHTC CEO Sherene Azli said the original target set for medical tourism this year was RM2bil in revenue, with RM10bil in total contribution to the economy.
The revised target was due to a decline in medical tourists forecast for the year on the back of border closures implemented as part the movement control order (MCO) and recovery MCO phases.
“While private healthcare providers are unable to treat healthcare travellers currently, they continue to engage with international patients via teleconsulting, e-pharmacy, as well as conferences and webinars.
“On our part, MHTC continues to be aggressive on our public relations and branding campaign, ” she said.
Sherene also noted that the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are commendable, with a 97.4% recovery rate and 1.5 million Covid-19 tests carried out to date.
Malaysia’s travel borders have since opened up to only six countries - Brunei, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
Patients hailing from these six countries are allowed to seek medical treatment in Malaysia, provided that they adhere to a strict set of SOPs.
International patients will first have to undergo Covid-19 testing three days prior to their departure to Malaysia.
Upon arrival, the patient will be escorted by the hospital staff from the airport to the hospital, where a second Covid-19 test will be done. The patient is to be treated and isolated in the hospital for 14 days.
On the 13th day before the patient’s discharge, he or she will be tested again for Covid-19, before embarking on the return commercial flight home.
Procedures and treatments related to oncology, orthopaedics and cardiology continue to be in high demand by international patients, who are willing to pay for costly travel arrangements by way of medical evacuation, private jet or chartered flights to Malaysia.
Prior to the global outbreak of Covid-19, MHTC was to promote the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 (MyHT2020) campaign, which would be the nation’s first major international healthcare travel campaign. The campaign has since been deferred to 2022, with 2021 to be the recovery phase post-Covid-19.
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