Medical Tourism in India continues to show steady growth

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Affordability, availability, and advanced technologies are some reasons for this growth

New Delhi, 25 July 2018: As per recent statistics, India currently contributes to about 18% of the global medical tourism market. Its medical value travel (MVT) was pegged at $3 billion in 2015 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 15%, according to a report by FICCI and IMS Health, a health industry information firm. It has been estimated that by 2020, India’s medical tourism industry could be worth $9 billion, and account for 20% of the global market share.

Medical tourism is the process of traveling outside the country of residence for receiving medical care. This originally referred to the travel of patients from less-developed countries to developed nations in pursuit of the treatments not available in their homeland. Another major reason for the rise in medical tourism in India is the availability of alternative treatment options such as Ayurveda and Naturopathy.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “India is the preferred destination for cardiology, orthopedics, transplants, and ophthalmology. The country also enjoys high credibility in wellness, preventive, and alternative medicine.Affordability, high quality healthcare, availability of specialist treatment and advanced technologies are just a few reasons that have made India a much sought-after destination. Furthermore, the diversity of its flora and fauna, its natural beauty including a rich and vibrant cultural heritage has already put India on the tourist map. Many facilities in India have become a destination for learning and healing together. One can opt for a complete body detox using Yoga techniques and learn them too.”

Bangladesh and Afghanistan continue to be the top countries from where the maximum number foreign tourist arrivals (for medical purpose) is seen. In 2017, about 2.21 lakh tourists from Bangladesh are estimated to have come to India for medical reasons.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said,“Understanding the need for holisticwellness, the Government of India has constituted a Medical and Wellness Tourism Board as adedicated institution to guide the promotion and positioning of India as a competent andcredible medical and wellness tourism destination.The Board hasrepresentatives from government departments, tourism and hospitality sectors,the Indian Medical Association and experts in various disciplines including Wellness and Yoga,apart from other stakeholders. Another significant development to be mentioned here is theformation of an integrated Ministry of Ayush, with a special Department of Yoga.”

IMA is a member of National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board. The following recommendations are likely to be implemented.

  • Government to facilitate e-Medical Visa.
  • Normally e-Visa given for 60 days but e-Medical Visa will be for 6 months.
  • e-Visa will have a permission for double entry, but e-Medical Visa will permit Triple entry.
  • e-Visa will be extendable to e-Medical Visa.
  • e-Medical Visa will be available at five major Indian Ports i.e. Mumbai, Cochin, Goa, Chennai and Mangalore.
  • e-Medical Visa will be available for 161 countries.
  • Presently, medical attendants are given Visa, but the Committee has recommended that medical attendants should also be given e-Medical Visa.
  • The Committee also recommended that all hospitals should have a common Greet and Meet Counter and it should be at major Airports / Ports.
  • Free SIM card at entry will be given to e-Medical Visa patient.
  • Committee have recommended a Translation App at Airports/ Ports.
  • All Medical Tourism Hospitals will have to be NABH or JCI Accredited. We are pushing for IMA accreditation also.
  • The Committee also recommended that fee for e-Visa and e-Medical Visa should be the same.