Medical tourism is a term coined which covers patients travelling across the globe for tourism purposes clubbing their requirements for treatment of acute illness, elective surgeries such as cardiology, hip replacement, knee replacement,etc. The Government is taking serious initiatives in this regards and plans to start overseas marketing of India as a medical tourism destination.
The government of India is of the opinion that by marketing India as a global medical tourism destination, it could capitalise on the low-cost, high-quality medical care available in the country. India, touted as one of the favourite destinations for information technology majors, is currently emerging as the chosen destination for medical or health tourism. The Government of India, State tourism boards, travel agents, tour operators, hotel companies and private sector hospitals are exploring the medical tourism industry for tremendous opportunities. They are seeking to capitalise on the opportunities by combining the country's popular leisure tourism with medical tourism.
Industry projections? Statistics estimate that the medical tourism industry in India is currently worth $333 million (Rs 1,500 crore) while a study by CII-McKinsey estimates that the country could well earn Rs 5,000-10,000 crore by the year 2012. The Indian medical tourism industry, growing at an annualised rate of 30 percent, caters to patients chiefly from the US, Europe and Africa.
Although in its nascent stage, the industry is outpacing similar industries of other countries such as Greece, South Africa, Jordan, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. In the year 2004, Approx 1,50,000 medical tourists have visited India. What makes it so attractive? Primary is the cost factor. The medical costs in India are a fraction of the costs in the US/Europe. For instance, a heart surgery costs $6,000 in India as against $30,000 in the US. Similarly, a bone marrow transplant costs $26,000 in India as compared to $2,50,000 in the US. Foreign patients throng Indian hospitals to pass up the long waiting lists and queues in their native countries.
The NHS patients in UK have to wait for months for Hip/Knee replacements surgery. Indian hospitals provide immediate attention to patients rather than asking them to wait for several months like in most western countries. India's top notch private hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, Max HealthCare have gained international recognition for their state-of-the-art facilities and diagnostic centres besides unsurpassed technical skills. Their technology and procedures are state of the art and on par with hospitals in developed nations.
Foreign patients can get attractive package deals including flights, transfers, hotels, treatment and post-operative vacation for their medical visits to India. India has some world class SPAs and Ayurvedic facilities which help recuperation and healing. Some Top India Hospitals Include Apollo, Fortis, Max Healthcare, Escorts, AIIMs, Wockhardt, etc. A few good Medical tourism providers are TajMedical.com, India4health.com, Mediescapes.com and Indiaheals.com. With time more and more visitors will flock to this part of the globe for their treatment and relaxtion needs.
By Monica Rai Post Grad in Sociology
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