Minister: Medical tourism in Kuching thriving like ‘gula dengan semut’

Abdul Karim speaking to reporters during the press conference.

By Christopher Lidom

KUCHING, Dec 7: Medical tourism here is on the rise, as the city’s hospital attract visitors like ‘gula dengan semut’ (ants and sugar) says Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP) Dato Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

According to Karim, for a small city with a population of less than one million, Kuching has four private hospitals that cater for medical tourism.

“I like to use the saying of ‘gula dengan semut’. If there is sugar, there are ants.

“For them to be willing to spend and set up private hospitals, it means there is business,” he told a press conference held after launching Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) Integrity Day held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

On Nov 28, during the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, Abdul Karim said that Sarawak’s health tourism sector recorded 28,000 visitors leading to an estimated revenue of RM54 million so far in 2023.

Abdul Karim highlighted the unique nature of medical tourism, where visitors typically stay for a week or more, depending on their doctors’ recommendations for follow-up appointments.

This extended stay, often accompanied by family members, contributes significantly to the hospitality industry.

“Normally for medical tourism, the are accompanied by family members too and that helps a lot in the hospitality industry,” he added. — DayakDaily