The opportunities being given by medical tourism industry are now being captured by The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), East Zone, to a great extent. Nationals from North-eastern and Eastern places including Guwahati and Kolkata who wish to travel southwards for medical treatments are being targeted by the Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). This is also going to help patients from Bangalore who are looking to come to India for a medical treatment.
Group General Manager, IRCTC, East Zone, Debashis Chandra said, “There are a lot of people from the eastern and northeastern parts of the country who travel to Vellore and other parts of south India for treatment. Many of them are senior citizens who live alone. In some cases, their children live abroad and can’t travel to India at short notice. We take care of all their needs. We have a dedicated cell for such people. Once we know where they want to receive treatment, we get in touch with the hospital through our own channels and fix up appointments with doctors. We then arrange for tickets for the patients and relatives. In case, they wish to travel by air, we arrange for flight tickets as well. If people require escorts during the journey, they are arranged.”
As the patients and their attendants will arrive at the airport or the station of their destinations, they would be received and dropped at the hospital. Once the patient gets the opinion from the doctor, he and his attendants would be shifted to a hotel where all their necessities including meals would be taken care of by IRCTC. Post-treatment, they would be brought back home by IRCTC along with special care if needed.
“We are a government organization and all are activities are above board. Now that we have started helping people in need of medical aid, touts will no longer be able to fleece them. For this activity, we are not paying too much attention to profits. Proper service is crucial as we will be dealing with elderly people and those who are ill. Their demands will be different from the normal tourist. We have a dedicated team to look after their needs,” he added.
IRCTC is now putting-in endeavors to become a big name in the tourism industry. Along with providing destinations in the North-eastern states, West Bengal as well as other places to the tourists, IRCTC’s GGM also wished to middle-class tourists who have budgetary restrictions. Planning is also being done to make tours for people who wish to travel out of country for watching big sports events like Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
He further informed, “There are many people who want to watch such events but can’t afford to do so. We shall make preparations in advance for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia and Olympics 2020 in London. We shall arrange for accommodation around the venues that they can afford and cheap air tickets. For this, we have to make arrangements in advance.”