Jan 13, 2008

Extension Of Visa Period For Health Tourists Lauded

Extension Of Visa Period For Health Tourists Lauded

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- The government's move to immediately extend the visa period for health tourists from 30 days to six months has been lauded.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) treasurer Dr P. Vythilingam said the decision would benefit patients who required time to recover fully after treatment for heart ailments and cancer, for example, before returning to their countries.

"This would help enhance the quality of service as well as the image of Malaysian hospitals," he said.

The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia said it offered packages ranging from RM450 to RM35,000 to health tourists. The packages included basic health check, cardiology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic and plastic surgery.

A tourist from China, Angelina Kim, 29, said the extension of the visa period facilitated treatment of tourists in the country.

"It provided an alternative for tourists to seek treatment here because the cost of treatment in Europe, the United States and Australia was too high," she said when approached at a hotel here.

Singaporean Khatijah Sani, 37, said the cost of treatment at hospitals in the republic were too high compared to Malaysia.

In MELAKA, Mahkota Medical Centre Marketing Director Vincent Wan said the extension of visa period was a motivation and value added facility to draw more health tourists.

He said the hospital received on the average 3,800 foreign patients a month, many of them from Indonesia.

In JOHOR BAHARU, Johor Tourism Committee chairman Freddie Long said the visa period extension was a positive development for the Johor tourism industry.


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