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Market of Medical Tourism in India

Medical tourism is an emerging sector in India. The costs of medical treatment in the developed countries are way higher than India; with the United States leading the way. Two factors are responsible for such a situation – (a) the availability of very high-quality facilities, availability of high competence physicians & surgeons and (b) significant reduction in the cost – makes India very attractive for medical tourists. For instance, the treatment of CABG that costs around $40, 000 in the USA would be done in $18,000 in India.

We bring to light a research scholar – Dr. Anil Bankar who is synonym with the word medical tourism in India. He is the first one in the state of Maharashtra and second in India who started research on medical tourism. He is credited with assistance and consultation of medical tourism facilitators to set-up ground and develops relationships with their international counterparts.

Here is an interview with Dr. Anil Bankar:

In what respect, India is the growing medical tourism hot spot in India? What the reasons for an increasing number of medical tourists in India in recent times?

Medical Tourism in India is a combination of several factors, which makes India a unique healthcare destination. Over 60,000 cardiac surgeries are done every year with outcomes at par with international standards. Multi-organ transplants are successfully performed at 1/10th the costs and alternate systems of medicine. Also, leisure aspects of medical wellness tourism are included. Wellness tourism can be a unique selling point of Indian medical tourism thus; it should be promoted widely while promoting the medical tourism.

Why India attracts medical tourists in large numbers? Why is India a favorable destination for foreigners?

Most of the countries are undergoing healthcare crisis today, with over 250 million people in the US still uninsured. In developed countries, the healthcare is costly while India can provide high-end facilities to mostly all its clientele under budget. Also, better facilities are available to people who are willing to travel with them.

What, according to you, can be the deterrent for the industry? Or what are the factors that should keep in mind for further growth in the sector?

Indian medical tourism lacks in differentiating itself from the competitive countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, etc. Price is not the factor to attract the international patients; there are some countries like the US, which gives more preference to quality of doctors and services. So, according to the preferences of the international patients, a brand should be developed and positioned. Positioning the medical tourism brand according to the segments of the global as well as domestic patients’ needs and wants to meet their expectations.

What are the prospects of the ‘next crown jewel,’ i.e., medical tourism in India?

Over the past few years, the medical tourism has changed immensely in India. Private enterprises and hospitals have created a favorable atmosphere for patients with varying degrees of illness to avail of the best facilities for their care. In this endeavor, a few hospitals owned by corporates, facilitators, freelance agents all are working in tandem to build a thriving ecosystem that educates, facilitates and ferries medical tourists from across the world.

How would the ’50 tourism circuits’ – connect hubs of modern medicine and Ayurveda, as promised by NDA government in its manifesto, could help in tapping the growth of the sector?

Medical tourism is a challenging business for a medical tourism facilitator. According to a survey undertaken for medical tourism facilitators, the results highlighted that the medical tourism sector is not in an organized form and there is a strong need to tie-up with national as well as international governments to promote it better.
Ayurveda comes under Wellness Tourism so, wellness tourism can be a unique selling point of Indian medical tourism, and it should be promoted widely while promoting the medical tourism. Department of AYUSH and medical tourism facilitators should encourage wellness tourism at the target market.

About Asma Rafat

Asma Rafat is an Independent Journalist based in New Delhi. Previously with The Free Press Journal and Channel NewsAsia. When not thinking about stories, she is busy reading Urdu poetry, watching movies or taking photographs. Find her on Twitter @asmarafat

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