By: Anirban Ray

MUSCAT: The number of Omanis visiting Malaysia for medical treatment and consultations has increased significantly over the past year, Kavitha Mathuvay, market development manager, Malaysia Health Tourism Council told Muscat Daily.

She was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference on ‘Malaysia Medical Tourism’ at the Ramada Hotel on Monday.

Last year, as many as 1,300 patients from Oman visited Malaysia as compared to 1,000 in 2012.

Some of the fields in which treatments were availed by Omanis include gastroenterology, gynaecology, urology and general surgeries among others.

“The number of medical tourists from other GCC countries to Malaysia has also witnessed a growth with 10,000 visiting the country in 2012 and 11,000 in 2013. There has also been an overall increase in the number of patients visiting Malaysia from other parts of the world. The increase in the number of tourists shows how Malaysia is catering well to the medical needs of Omanis and those from the GCC.”

Apart from high quality healthcare and strict regulations Malaysia is also popular for its affordability. Other features that attract Muslims are availability of halal food and prayer rooms in the hospitals, she said.

“To make things easier for tourists there is also visa on arrival system for Omanis in the country. In emergency situations, the hospital authorities can even help tourists extend their visa period by two months. Omanis on holiday trips to Malaysia can also get health checkups done. A routine health check-up will cost US$150 while a comprehensive one will cost US$800,” Kavitha added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia was recently ranked third worldwide for its healthcare system by International Living in its 2014 Global Retirement Index.

The Malaysia Health Tourism Council, which organised the conference, was established by the government of Malaysia as an agency to develop and boost medical tourism in the country.