In an effort to promote health and wellness tourism to Australians, the Ministry of Health Malaysia
and Tourism Malaysia
held a briefing session for tour operators interested in understanding the rules and regulations required to package and promote health tourism to Malaysia. Health tourism is growing in Malaysia. From 2007 to 2009, there were around 350,000 medical tourists each year, the exact numbers still being a matter of dispute. This number is expected to grow significantly in 2010 with over 625,000 expected. Whether this is an accurate prediction or an optimistic government target, is a matter of debate.
Traditionally, most medical tourists come from ASEAN countries such as Singapore and Indonesia. However, Tourism Malaysia believes there is significant potential to grow medical tourism from the Australian market. Choy Lup Bong for the Ministry of Health Malaysia says, “Along with outstanding medical facilities and doctors, Malaysia also has English as a main language, convenient transport infrastructure, stable government and cost comparisons show that despite the high level of services, Malaysia is one of the most cost competitive countries for most procedures. The Ministry of Health has selected 35 of Malaysia’s best private hospitals for promotion and will continue efforts to help access to medical services for Australian visitors.” Shahrin Mokhtar director of Tourism Malaysia Sydney says that medical tourism is a strong potential market, “Although it is a niche market, these visitors spend more than leisure travellers, stay longer and also tend to become repeat visitors.”
A report on Malaysian tourism by analysts RNCOS
, says that with increasing promotional activities and government support, tourism will increase by 8% each year from 2011 to 2013. According to “Malaysia Tourism Industry Forecast to 2012”, Malaysia has emerged as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The research identifies that medical tourist arrivals in the country will also experience tremendous growth on the back of increased investment and infrastructural developments. The report found that Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand are the major source countries for tourist arrival in Malaysia.