The Malaysian Health Ministryannounced on Tuesday that the ministry has established the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) to promote and develop the health tourism industry for the country.
The Malaysian Cabinet had agreed the proposal to form the MHTC earlier July as a department within the Malaysian Health Ministry,Malaysian Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said after he launched the opening ceremony for the International Healthcare Conference and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur Convention Center here.
Liow said that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has identified health tourism as one of the strategies for rapid, sustained and higher economic growth, resulting in the establishment of MHTC.
He said that Malaysia had received 375,000 medical tourists last year, according to the Association of Private Hospital of Malaysia.
"Medical tourism has 20 percent growth every year, we still expect 10 percent growth this year despite economic downturn," he said, adding that the services of the Malaysia's healthcare tourism included medical check-up, eye-care and dental-care.
Liow said that MHTC would be responsible for an advisory committee which would deal with policy issues and set direction for the healthcare industry.
"The healthcare tourism run by the society in the past, now the(Malaysian) government will assist the industry," he said.
He added that the committee was co-chaired by himself and the Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, and embraced representatives from the government and the private sector involved in health tourism.