The revision to 25 per cent growth from 30 per cent 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 global economic situation has been very volatile in recent times.
" However, as medical treatment is seen more as a necessity, overall, the medical tourism industry has only been affected minimally as we have not seen such a significant drop in percentage of patient flow," APHM chairman for the database and health tourism committee, Datuk Dr K. Kulaveerasingam, said.
The association had earlier projected receipts from foreigners seeking medical treatment in the country to grow 30 per cent a year until 2010.
The foreign 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 Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Francis Lim was of the view that Malacca could gain from the slowdown.
"We may benefit as we still have price advantage over Singapore ... unless Singapore adjusts their prices dramatically," he said.
Lim pointed out that 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 big in medical tourism, with 80 per cent of the foreign-patient market in the state. It treated 50,000 Indonesians last year.
This year has been good for medical tourism in the country, with receipts and patient arrivals set to achieve the projected 30 per cent growth target.
Source : NST
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