Malaysia had previously aimed to attract medical tourists in the coming months. But due to the resurgence of the coronavirus around the world, it has limited the country’s ability to reopen borders.
According to the Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council, hospitals in Malaysia are expecting to earn RM 800 million (USD 194 million) of revenue from medical tourists next year. This statistic is way higher when compared with RM 500 million this year. This is quite far from the RM 1.7 billion the industry earned in 2019 and its previous 2020 target for RM 2 billion.
Sherene Azli, CEO, Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council said, “We may not have a normal travel behaviour pattern returning soon. Before this we thought that the borders, the pandemic will go earlier than expected, now we are thinking borders will not be relaxed even in mid-2021 or even at the end of 2021.”
Back in July, Malaysia started allowing medical tourists from six countries
Malaysia had started allowing medical tourists to enter from six countries including Singapore, Japan, and Australia. Since then the country has banned citizens of dozens of countries with more than 150,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. This ban has been implemented amid concerns over local outbreaks that could be linked back to visitors from abroad.
Azli added, “The country expects to welcome fewer than 300,000 medical tourists in 2020, compared with 1.2 million last year. Malaysia’s hospitals have resorted to offering online consultations. Furthermore, they have plans to improve services for cancer, heart diseases, and fertility treatment during this period. We feel that that is a strong trust that we can build for Malaysia in terms of delivering quality healthcare.”