Business

Medical tourism growth expected to slow: Analysts

Medical tourism growth here is expected to slow down amid stiffer regional competition, especially from the Malaysian healthcare market, according to UOB Kay Hian.

The softer outlook in Singapore comes amid a decline in growth of foreign patient numbers, which is expected to affect growth in revenue.

Foreigners made up 40 per cent of healthcare provider IHH Healthcare's business in Singapore in 2013, but this fell to 30 per cent last year.

Its quarterly revenue growth in the same period has also declined from an average of 5 per cent year-on-year between 2013 and 2014, to between 1 per cent and 2 per cent year-on-year from 2015 to last year.

STRONGER

With the sector's stronger showing in Malaysia, UOB Kay Hian analysts singled out Health Management International (HMI) as a top pick with strong growth prospects.

Malaysia is attracting patients, thanks to factors such as infrastructure and service improvements, and a relatively lower bill.

Comparing average bill sizes at private hospitals from both countries, those at HMI are 15 per cent to 30 per cent of those in Singapore.

A Maybank Kim Eng report earlier this month noted that Singapore is the second-priciest medical tourism destination in the world, and the most expensive in Asia. -THE STRAITS TIMES

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