Global Markets

Malaysia to generate $500M from health tourism in 2024

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) aims to generate 2.4 billion MYR (US$502 million) in revenue from health tourism this year. This will not only benefit the healthcare sector but also have a positive impact on other industries such as hospitality and transport, contributing approximately 9.6 billion MYR ($2.1 billion) to the economy.

Dr. Mohamed Ali Abu Bakar, the CEO of MHTC, expressed confidence in achieving this target based on the data collected until November 2023. The industry has already surpassed expectations by generating over 1.92 billion MYR in revenue. Additionally, the federal government’s decision to grant visa-free stays of up to 30 days to citizens from China and India, effective from December 1st of the previous year, further supports this optimistic outlook.

Not only has the industry exceeded the initial revenue target for 2023, but it has also achieved the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025 target of 2 billion MYR two years ahead of schedule. This remarkable achievement will set a new record for the industry, surpassing the pre-pandemic peak of 1.7 billion MYR in 2019.

Dr. Mohamed Ali believes that the visa-free entry decision will attract more medical tourists to Malaysia, especially from China and India, as these countries have contributed significantly to the overall number of tourists in this category. The timing of this visa policy is opportune, considering that many countries have relaxed their entry and exit conditions due to the transition to the endemic phase, which began two years ago.

Over the past decade, Malaysia has established itself as a prominent destination for health tourists in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2023, it welcomed over 1 million health tourist arrivals, marking a growth of more than 15% compared to the previous year. Indonesia remains the largest source of health tourists, accounting for 70-80% of the total number of visitors. Other significant sources include Bangladesh, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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