Revised 2009 growth forecast for medical travel industry

 

The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) has cut its projection of receipts and the number of foreigners seeking treatment in Malaysia for next year, although a growth of 30 percent for 2008 over 2007 has already been achieved.

The revision to 25 percent growth from 30 percent forecast early this year comes in the wake of the global economic slowdown, which is likely to translate into less money in people's pockets. The association had earlier projected receipts from foreigners seeking medical treatment in the country to grow 30 percent a year until 2010. By 2011, Malaysian healthcare providers expect RM584 million (US$160.9 million)in medical revenue from treating some 850,000 foreigners.

APHM’s Dr Kulaveerasingam said: ”As medical treatment is seen as a necessity rather than a luxury, the medical tourism industry has only been affected minimally as we have not seen any significant drop in percentage of patient flow. The medical tourist industry is expected to continue attracting patients from the Asean region as well as a smaller number from Japan, Australia and the UK. New markets like Vietnam and Cambodia are anticipated to cushion the impact of fewer arrivals from other markets.’

Mahkota Medical Centre (MMC) chief executive Francis Lim added: “We may benefit as we still have a price advantage over Singapore. A patient with a medical condition will seek treatment regardless of whether there is a recession or not. However, those considering treatment for aesthetic reasons may defer their decision.” The Mahkota Medical Centre in Malacca is important in medical tourism as it treated 50,000 Indonesians last year.

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