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Malaysia targets healthcare markets close to home

Staff writer |
Malaysia is looking at new markets for medical tourism, and domestic medical tourism is top of the list.

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New focus for The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is to create awareness among local residents and promote domestic healthcare travel.

As well as focusing on the existing market that is predominantly from Asia, the various ministries and government councils are setting their sights further away.

In 2015, 80% of medical tourists to Malaysia were from neighbouring countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

Efforts are being made by the ministry to promote Malaysia to the Middle East, Japan and Bangladesh. Inspired by a steady rise in the number of Bangladeshis seeking healthcare in Malaysia, it is eying Bangladesh as a lucrative market.

The number of patients from Bangladesh to Malaysia doubled to 20,000 in 2015 over the last five years.

The MHTC is working with Malaysia Airlines that gives a 30% discount to Bangladeshi patients and their family members flying in to Malaysia for treatment.

MHTC is in discussion with Biman Bangladesh Airlines to find ways to work together for providing a better service to the people travelling to Malaysia for treatment.

A new focus for MHTC is to create awareness among local residents and promote domestic healthcare travel, by highlighting the specialist services of local hospitals.

More Malaysian hospitals are promoting domestic healthcare travel as a specific initiative to expatriates and employees of foreign companies with investments in Malaysia, he says, but domestic promotion among medical tourism agencies and travel agencies is underdeveloped.

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