By SIRA HABIBU
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is ranked top international medical tourism destination after it attracted 1.3 million medical tourists last year. Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council chief executive officer Sherene Azli said UK-based International Medical Travel Journal had ranked Malaysia as the top destination in terms of volume of inbound medical travelers for three consecutive years.
She said from being a hidden jewel in the medical tourism sector, Malaysia has now been recognized as the world’s healthcare marvel. “Even the US-based International Living magazine has acknowledged Malaysia as the Best· Country in the World for Healthcare,” she said after KPJ Healthcare Bhd president Datuk Amiruddin Abdul Satar announced the re-naming of KPJ Tawakkal Specialist Hospital to KPJ Tawakkal KL Specialist Hospital yesterday. Sherene said Malaysia’s pull factor included world-class healthcare, affordable treatment cost, and friendly service. “Having a multi-lingual population helps breach the language barrier, as our people can speak Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arab and others.” Sherene added that ·Malaysia has projected to draw RM2bil in medical tourism revenue during Visit Malaysia 2020.
“We are expecting an increase in foreign patients seeking treatment for bigger and more complex cases,” she said, adding the medical tourism revenue last year was estimated at RM1.7bil.
Amiruddin meanwhile said KPJ, which owned 28 hospitals nationwide was aiming to capture 10% of the projected RM 2bil in medical tourism revenue.
“We have added more beds, and are investing in new equipment.”
“We are also planning to relocate our hospital in Kuching and better facilities.”
KPJ Tawakkal is known as an elite hospital for medical tourism, not because of our superb customer service.” he said.