The Growing Industry of Medical Tourism in India

Medical Tourism In India

India has a growing industry in the field of tourism. Especially Spiritual Tourism which is growing rapidly in India. But India is also a great nation for Medical Tourism. It is a growing sector in India whose estimated worth is 5-6 Billion US Dollars.

In 2017, 495,056 patients visited India to seek medical care. India is ranked 3rd in the world for producing medicines by volume. The country through the pharma sector is considered to be one of the most valuable nations.

It holds the 14th position among all in terms of value. In this article we will know about Medical Tourism in India.

What is Medical Tourism?

Medical tourism is also called medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare. It is a term used to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling across international borders to seek healthcare services. Services typically sought by travelers include elective procedures as well as complex surgeries, etc. 

Medical Tourism In India 

According to a report from 2019 by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Ernst & Young, most of the medical tourist arrivals in India were from Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, and the SAARC region. India also receives a significant number of medical tourists from Australia, Canada, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The city of Chennai has come to be known as the healthcare capital of India.

To encourage applications and ease the travel process for medical tourists, the government has expanded its e-tourism VISA regime in February 2019, to include medical visas. The maximum duration of stay under this visa is 6 months. Since 30 August 2019, foreigners can receive any medical treatment in India with the exception of organ transplants without a medical visa.

Why should people prefer India for Medical Tourism ?

India has many advantages which can attract foreigners to prefer India for medical tourism. Advantages of medical treatment in India include :-  

Reduced Costs

Most estimates found that treatment costs in India start at around one-tenth of the price of comparable treatment in the United States or the United Kingdom.The most popular treatments sought in India by medical tourists are alternative medicine, bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery, and hip replacement.

Quality Care

India has 39 Joint Commission (JCI) accredited hospitals. However, for a patient traveling to India, it is important to find the optimal doctor-hospital combination. After the patient has been treated, the patient has the option of either recuperating in the hospital or at a paid accommodation nearby. Many hospitals also give the option of continuing the treatment through telemedicine.

Ease of Travels

The government has removed visa restrictions on tourist visas. They required a two-month gap between consecutive visits for people from Gulf countries which is likely to boost medical tourism. A visa-on-arrival scheme for tourists from select countries has been instituted which allows foreign nationals to stay in India for 30 days for medical reasons. In 2016, citizens of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Republic of Korea and Nigeria availed the most medical visas.

Removal of Language Barrier

India is a diverse country and despite its diversity of languages, English is an official language in India. It is widely spoken by most people and almost universally by medical professionals. 

In Noida, a number of hospitals have hired language translators to make patients from Balkan and African countries feel more comfortable while at the same time helping in the facilitation of their treatment.

A large number of medical tourism companies are facilitating foreigners, especially patients from Arabic, Russian, English, and Bangla speaking countries.

Chennai- The Health Capital of India

Medical Tourism

The city of Chennai has been termed as India’s health capital. Multi- and super-specialty hospitals across the city bring in an estimated 150 international patients every day. 

Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad arriving in the country, It also attracts 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. 

Factors behind the tourists inflow in the city include low costs, little to no waiting period, and facilities offered at the specialty hospitals in the city. The city has an estimated 12,500 hospital beds, of which only half is used by the city’s population with the rest being shared by patients from other states of the country and foreigners. Dental clinics have attracted dental care tourism to Chennai.

Bengaluru, Chandigarh Capital Region (CCR), Delhi NCR including Gurugram[ and Faridabad, Jaipur, Kerala, Kolkata, and Mumbai are other Medical tourism hubs in India. Hisar Medicity is an upcoming hub, which was under planning and construction in 2021.

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