The worth of India’s industry of medical tourism is projected to be around $ 310 million. Renée-Marie Stephano, JD, President of the Medical Tourism Association pointed out that this number is projected to reach $6 billion by the year 2018.
Medical Tourism Industry
Medical tourism has always been a priority for the country’s government wherein an announcement about establishing the National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board has been made. This board would be assisting foreign patients who will be visiting India looking for treatment.
Patients from all around the globe including United Stated visit India for the world-class medical tourism services that it offers clubbed with learned physicians and low prices. It is expected that by the end of 2015 around 1.2 million medical tourists are going to come to India and this number is probably going to double up by the year 2020. The value of country’s medical tourism industry is around $310 million and it is being expected that this number would touch $6 billion by the year 2018.
Chennai in Tamil Nadu is known to be the health capital of India as it houses a number of super-specialty and multi-specialty hospitals that are visited by around 150 international patients on a daily basis. Apart from Chennai, other destinations in India that are chief importance in medical tourism are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi and Kerala. All these places boast of some of the best medical schools in the country. Some of the prime hospitals here include Fortis Healthcare, Asian Heart Institute, The Apollo Group and Narayana Health.
Number of Middle East Patients
Although medical tourists visit India from all around the globe but a significant number of such patients come from North Africa and Middle East. An economic and political alliance of 6 Middle Eastern countries, called The Gulf Cooperative Council, is known to be fastest-growing but the mostly unhealthy part of the globe. This council includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Nearly half of the patients from this region are keen on travelling out of their own countries to get special treatments for complex medical troubles and a huge number choses to visit India.
Around 30 percent of international tourists who visit Apollo Hospitals for treatments come from GCC countries. Apollo Hospitals and Emirates, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world have signed an agreement which will be linking more number of international patients who wish to seek quality medical care from India. Because of this joint endeavor, patients and their attendants from around 19 countries from Africa and Middle East can now get treatments done at Apollo Hospitals at cities like Ahmedabad, Chennai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. These patients can avail benefits of sponsored fares for their round-trip flights.
Medical Treatment in India and its Benefits
In the world, every year, around 7 million people travel out of their native countries for all kinds such as cancer treatment, dental issues, weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery and more. When a medical traveler opts for a particular international healthcare service provider he keeps into a consideration a number of factors. Quality, destination and price are the 3 important factors in the case of medical tourism. When it comes to India, the country boasts of all the 3 factors and for the same reason it is a world renowned destination for medical tourism.
Money is an extremely important consideration in medical tourism industry. The Medical Tourism Association Patient Survey states that about 80 percent of medical travel are motivated by monetary savings. The cost of various treatments in India is anywhere 30 to percent 70 percent of the costs in North Africa and Middle East. The depreciation of Indian rupee also assists these rates.
India is an excellent combination of skilled doctors and low-priced treatments. In India, hip replacement costs $7000 and in Thailand and Singapore this surgery costs $12000. If you talk about Middle East, it is even costlier.
The Joint Commission International, the gold standard for quality healthcare has accredited 21 healthcare institutions in India. Though the number of Indian doctors working abroad is quite significant but because of developing medical technology and enhanced standard of living, they are now coming back to India. Apollo administrators inform that their hospitals are receiving as many as 300 job applications from healthcare experts who are currently working only in Britain.
Ayurveda and the concept of holistic wellness is another major bonus for health-conscious visitors who come to India.
Top 5 treatments in India
Along with alternative medicine in India, there are some treatments in India that are extremely popular. Cardiac bypass, bone-marrow transplant, IVF treatment, eye surgery, cosmetology and hip replacement are some of the most popular treatments in India. At Apollo Chennai, oncology treatment that include proton beam therapies and robotic surgeries are predicted to become extremely popular.
Duration of stay of Middle Eastern Patients
Patients from Middle East and North Africa who visit India under medical tourism mostly come with an attendant/a companion. The duration for which they stay in India, completely depends on the treatment they are taking. Government has made travelling easier for such travelers as it has removed restrictions on tourist visa, which earlier required a 2-month gap between 2 continuous visits for visitors who came to India from Gulf countries. This move is surely going to boost medical tourism.