Survey suggests shift in Maldivians travelling abroad for medical

The number of Maldivians travelling abroad declined last year, a survey has shown while there appeared to be a slight shift in destination for locals.

The survey conducted at the Velana International Airport in December 2017 by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) showed a slight decline in Maldivians seeking medical treatment abroad.

However, the survey also showed a shift in usual trend in travelers opting for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand instead of the usual India and Sri Lanka.

The average expenditure of a medical traveller to India stood at USD641 in 2016 which was an increase of 25 percent in comparison to 2015, with a further increase of seven percent recorded in 2017 .

Meanwhile, the average expenditure of a traveller to Sri Lanka for medical purposes declined by 21%, despite reporting an upturn of 23% in 2016. The average expenditure of a medical traveller to Singapore was observed to have been increasing significantly over the past three years and stood at US$2,500 in 2017.

As per the Maldives Immigration’s statistics, a total of 6,943 Maldivians arrived during
the survey period in 2017, of which 4,220 passengers were surveyed. This represents
response rate of 61%. Similarly, the response rates for 2015 and 2016 surveys were 49%
and 62%, respectively.

Each year, MMA conducts this survey during school holidays in December, when it is considered the ‘peak’ time locals travel abroad.