Malaysia targets breast surgery tourists

by Kean Wong ,  BBC | 2002-11-29

Penang, off the west coast of Malaysia, has been a popular tourist spot for many years, but it is finding new ways of attracting visitors - by offering plastic surgery.

The main thing that attracted me to it is that you get a holiday out of it

But now it is now hoping to make its name for silicone - the substance found in breast implants.

Specialist tour companies, like Beautiful Holidays, are offering holiday packages for tourists, who can enjoy some sunshine as well as having cosmetic surgery.

More than 70,000 such tourists have visited in the past year alone.

The state government's tourism minister, Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen, says medical tourism is a new niche well-suited to the skills and facilities available in Penang.

"When you're promoting an international tourism destination, we get a lot of competition from Phuket, Hong Kong and even Bali, they're our competitors," she says. "But when you go into niche marketing, like medical tourism, Penang has a competitive edge.

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