MHTC targets to contribute RM8b in total economic impact next year

In tandem with VM2020, the campaign is expected to position Malaysia as a leading global destination for healthcare

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By ARIF KARTONO

THE government, through the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), aims to contribute at least RM8 billion in total economic impact next year, under the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 (MyHT2020) campaign.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah (picture) said running in tandem with Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020), the campaign is expected to position Malaysia as a leading global destination for healthcare, which has seen resilient and robust economic growth over the years.

He said the country recorded 17% cumulative aggregate growth rate for healthcare from 2015 to 2018.

“In 2018, revenue receipts reached RM1.5 billion from an excess of 1.2 million healthcare traveller arrivals, contributing RM6.4 billion to the GDP. We hope with the MyHT2020 campaign, we would be getting more travellers.

“We are expecting about two million healthcare travellers, bringing RM8 billion for the total impact on the GDP, and with the revenue receipts of RM2 billion,” he said at the launch of the MyHT2020 campaign in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Amiruddin who officiated the campaign said the country is expected to benefit from the impact through the spill-over of other industries.

“This economic impact accounts for expenditure on sectors such as transportation, accommodation and tourism, which includes shopping and many other activities.

“Here, we see how the healthcare travel industry is one for collective economic growth. Small and medium enterprises in tourism, transportation and other niche services can benefit this single industry,” he said.

Amiruddin noted that as a niche sector, healthcare travel comprises some 7.6% of total tourism revenues and is expected to grow strongly going forward.

He said MyHT2020 will also play the role of a catalyst to turn Malaysia into a high-income nation. “MyHT2020 will be a stepping-stone towards creating a larger demand for healthcare in Malaysia, hence creating a bigger need for healthcare professionals,” he said.

Meanwhile, MHTC CEO Sherene Azli said MyHT2020 is a year-long campaign, which invites everyone to seek health and wellness treatments in Malaysia, while enjoying the country’s tourism attractions.

“The MyHT2020 campaign is running in tandem with the country’s national tourism campaign, VM2020. Joining hands with Tourism Malaysia, I believe MyHT2020 will play a role as a catalyst in attracting the targeted 30 million visitors to Malaysia come 2020,” she said.

Sherene added that MyHT2020 is aiming to change the perspective of the masses to making healthcare a proactive action and take charge of their health and wellness today.

She said healthcare offerings in the country over the years have been presented as a comprehensive package with all the right ingredients for healthcare travellers: World-class quality, easy accessibility and competitive affordability.

“Affordability of medical services in Malaysia is regulated with ceiling rates governed by the Health Ministry, for the safety and protection of healthcare travellers. Access to medical services has virtually no waiting time, due to structured systems adopted by Malaysia’s private healthcare providers.

“As a result, we have seen encouraging growth in the number of healthcare travellers to Malaysia, nearly double the number of arrivals between 2011 and 2018,” she said.

MHTC, an agency under the purview of the Finance Ministry, was established in 2009 to facilitate and grow the country’s healthcare travel industry.

In his Budget 2020 speech to Parliament recently, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would allocate RM25 million to MHTC to strengthen Malaysia’s position as the preferred destination for health tourism in Asean for oncology, cardiology and fertility treatment.