Medical tourism is a result of rapidly inflating medical bills in the western world and the other developed nations. The other less common reasons for travelling abroad can be preference for a particular mode of treatment or treatment which is simply not available in the native country.
India has been a major beneficiary of medical tourism with foreign nationals led by American citizens making a beeline for India to avail the relatively cheaper medical services. The medical tourism of India is expected to witness a boom in the coming years with a growth rate of 30% mainly driven by lost cost treatment, availability of skilled doctors and good quality health infrastructure.
The Indian government aware of the encouraging trends in the medical tourism industry has taken measures to address visa issues like removing restrictions on tourist visas which burdened travellers with rule of at least two months’ gap between consecutive visits from Gulf countries. The scheme for visa on arrival now allows foreigners to stay in the country for 30 days for treatment. The capital of Tamil Nadu has emerged as the preferred destination for medical tourists by the virtue of its vast array of super and multi-specialty hospitals and accounts for about 45% of foreign medical tourists. In fact, Chennai has been named as “India’s Health Capital”. The popular choice of treatment includes cardiac surgery, eye surgery among others.
India is placed at the third position in Asia in terms of medical tourism. Some other facts pertaining to medical travel India are as follows:
- Medical tourism market in India has been estimated to be about $4 billion and is expected to reach $6 billion by the year 2018. 1.27 million medical tourists from countries such as USA, UK and Canada visit India every year besides medical tourists from neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.
- Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and the National Capital of Delhi are the top destinations for medical tourists in India. According to a government report, these three states contribute to about 55% of the medical tourists in India. High quality hotels and advanced hospitals are the reasons cited behind the huge influx of foreign medical tourists in these states.
Reasons for choosing India
The most important reason for foreign tourists choosing India for medical treatment is the affordable cost of treatment. The treatment costs in India are about one-tenth the price of similar treatment in USA or United Kingdom.
India also offers advanced medical care through its vast array of super specialty and multi-specialty hospitals. Indian hospitals and doctors offer advanced standards in cardiology, eye surgery, hip replacement, oncology, nephrology, dental treatment, neurosurgery and many more.
The language is also not an issue in India because the universally spoken language by Indian medical professionals is English. Many medical tourism hotspots in the country like Noida have also started hiring language translators for patients coming in from Russia and other countries.
Apart from India, other countries which are engaged in medical tourism include Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Malaysia.