The first Malaysia International Healthcare Travel Expo and Conference (MIHTE 2012) in Kuala Lumpur marked an important point in the development of Malaysia’s medical tourism industry, led by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC). MIHTE attracted more than 1,300 delegates from 34 countries and was supported by 84 local and international exhibitors.
As the local healthcare systems develop, the Asian medical travel sector has enjoyed a period of growth in a difficult global healthcare market that has yet to recover from the financial crisis of 2008. Malaysia came relatively late to the medical tourism game, riding on the coat tails of Korea, Singapore and Thailand. As one conference attendee described the country, it has been “the best kept secret in medical tourism”. But it is very clear that the work of MHTC, led by Dr Mary Wong, and the Association of Private Hospitals in Malaysia (APHM), led by Dr Jacob Thomas, is paying dividends. Malaysia has climbed into the top five of medical tourism destinations worldwide (IMTJ Market Analysis).