KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is globally recognised as the top international medical tourism destination, surpassing the United States, says Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) chief executive officer Sherene Azli (pic).

She said the United Kingdom-based International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) ranked Malaysia as the top destination last year, as it attracted 1.3 million medical tourists, while the US only recorded 550,000 inbound patients.

She also said IMTJ had also ranked Malaysia as the top destination in terms of volume of inbound medical travellers for three consecutive years.

“Even the US-based International Living magazine has acknowledged Malaysia as the Best Country in the World for Healthcare.

“From being a hidden jewel in the medical tourism sector, Malaysia is now recognised as the world’s healthcare marvel,” she said.

She said this on Friday (Jan 10) after KPJ Healthcare Bhd president Datuk Amiruddin Abdul Satar announced the re-naming of KPJ Tawakkal Specialist Hospital to KPJ Tawakkal KL Specialist Hospital.

Sherene said Malaysia is 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.

Malaysia’s pull factor include world-class healthcare, affordable treatment cost and friendly service.

“And having a multi-lingual population help breach the language barrier, as our people can speak Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arab, and others,” she said.

Amiruddin said KPJ was aiming to capture 10% of the anticipated RM2bil in medical tourism revenue this year.

“We have added more beds, and are investing in new equipments.

“We are also planning to relocate our hospital in Kuching to offer spacious setting, and better facilities,” he said, adding the Group owned 28 hospitals nationwide,” he said.