What makes India suitable for medical tourism?
India has given multiple reasons to tourists in choosing her as an ideal travel destination – food, culture, weather, hospitality. In recent years, there is one reason that has drawn the attention of foreign tourists towards India – health care.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, medical tourism in India is blooming and it can grow by 200% by 2020. India is trying to focus on the medical hospitality making it an easy and obvious choice for travelers to visit India. The advanced facilities, proficient doctors, traditional and reliable practices like Yoga, Unani, Acupuncture, Homeopathy and Ayurveda are helping the medical tourism in India. These treatments give India a bigger edge over competitors like Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, UAE and Malaysia.
How medical tourism in India is affecting the economy ?
The affordable treatment is also drawing visitors from different countries to India. Surgical procedures like hip replacement, face lift, knee replacement, and gastric bypass are considered cosmetic treatment and are more often than not covered by the medical insurance providers in the western countries. Indian medical advancement is at par with western countries and therefore foreigners come in huge numbers and promote medical tourism in India.
Tourism Minister K J Alphons said in a written response to a query in Lower House of the Parliament “India can provide medical and health care of international standards at low costs.” He also added
“India excels in the state of the art medical facilities, reputed health care professionals, and quality nursing facilities and traditional healthcare therapies.”
Not many people would know that in 2015, India was at third position in the race of medical tourism. Being a popular destination in medical hospitality, the industry’s worth was $3 billion. Nearly 234,000 foreign tourists visited India on medical visa. The number increased to 495,056 in 2017. To encourage medical tourism in India, visa rules have also been modified. These include expansion of e-tourist visa regime to include medical visits, increasing the maximum duration of stay under the e-medical visa and introduction of medical attendant visas.
Leading companies those are promoting medical tourism in India
There are many leading companies that are promoting medical tourism in India.
- ClinicSpots is one of the prime medical tourism companies in India. Providing medical hospitality in all the major metro cities in the country, ClinicSpots focus on giving medical care by their associations with various hospitals. Another foremost medical tourism company is We Care Health Services. This company follows highest standards of care and excellence in the medical hospitality and provides world class treatment at a low-end price.
- Vaidam is India’s only ISO registered Medical Tourism Company that is dedicated to give the best care with certified doctors and upgraded medical technology. Tour2India4Health claims to be the best Medical Value provider in India. It is also the first government recognized Medical Value Provider. Founded in 2006, IndiCure Health Tours Private Limited is also a leading company in the medical hospitality in India.
Major corporations like Fortis, Max, Wockhardt, Tata and Apollo Hospitals have invested in big hospitals and tourism related services to cater to the growing needs of foreign tourists on medical visa.
Challenges faced in medical tourism in india
There are certain challenges as well when it comes to medical tourism in the country. The foremost being quality and patient safety. In spite of various advantages, Indian healthcare and medical industry faces severe patient safety and hygiene issues.
- There have been some reports in the media about Indian hospitals and doctors flouting the quality and safety norms. Many pathogens have become drug resistant in India because of the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. This is specially prevalent in cases pertaining to bone marrow and organ transplant.
- Another challenging issue is that of the existing markets in the medical tourism industry. The most attractive destinations favoring medical hospitality are Costa Rica, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea and Thailand.
- Therefore India needs to compete at a very professional level for tourists to sit and notice the pros of medical tourism in India.
- Follow up care is an important part of any medical procedure. Most of the foreign patients have very limited post-operative care.
The reasons for the same are multitude – complications at management level, ignorance, expenditure etc. Many patients believe that they can manage the post-operative care in their native country.
But despite these challenges, India remains one of the best and most sought after destinations for medical tourism. The amalgamation of world class health service at a cost effective price, along with the opportunity to spend time and vacation in the scenic country makes India a foremost choice for tourists on medical visa.