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.
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.
There are many leading companies that are promoting medical tourism 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.
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.
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.
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