India’s medical tourism sector is supposed to be growing to $7-8 billion by 2020, since the number of foreign tourist arrivals for medical treatment in India rose from 184,298 in 2014 to 361,060 in 2016, according to reports from the Ministry of Tourism. Fueling the growth of medical tourism in India is a steep rise by 45% in the number of Indian medical visas issued in 2016.
Evidently, the government is all set to launch facilitation centers in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Goa in 2018, in order to support the growth of medical tourism in India.
The gradual extension of special e-visa for medical tourists from 150 countries, cheap flights to India, improved air connectivity, quality health care and competitive pricing are transforming India into a leading medical tourism hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Bearing evidence to it is the Medical Tourism Market Report: 2015 that found India as one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations, offering a wide variety of procedures at about one-tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States.
Hyderabad will get a facilitation center in January 2018 for foreign medical tourists. The facilitation centers for the growth of medical tourism in India will be all-in-one platforms for the needs of foreign medical tourists in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Goa. Foreign nationals on medical visa to India will be able to contact these dedicated help centers for accommodation, doctor appointment, hospital transfer, in-city travel, translators and other provisions.
Improving home stay facility for international medical tourists in the above-mentioned Indian cities is another focus of the government, other than making travel to India cheaper from USA, the UK, Australia, Southeast Asian countries and the Middle East. Reportedly, the US and the UK have been sending the largest number of medical tourists to India. Foreign nationals mostly seek bone marrow transplant, hip resurfacing, cardiac bypass, IVF, heart and lung transplant, knee joint replacement, eye surgery and other advanced treatments like cancer.
Among the target cities for enhanced medical tourism in India, Hyderabad is taking additional measures to attract international medical tourists. Home to Asian Institute of Gastroenterology and L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad received approximately 1.7 million overseas visitors for advanced medical treatments in the past two years. World-class infrastructure, good air connectivity by major airlines and cheap flights to Hyderabad from USA and other countries via the Gulf are some of the driving forces behind Telangana’s remarkable contribution to the growth of medical tourism in India.
In addition to the upcoming facilitation centers for medical tourists in India, Telangana government is planning an integrated medical tourism hub in Hyderabad. The government has already discussed feasibility of the proposed facility with corporate hospitals operating in the city. The hub will be a one-stop center for all medical requirements and facilities in Hyderabad. It is supposed to come up in the Sports Tower building on the city’s IT corridor.
Needless to say, Chennai leads in India’s medical tourism sector. The health tourism capital of India, Chennai alone receives 40% of the country’s medical tourists in a given year. Over 200 overseas patients are treated daily in Chennai’s medical institutes and private hospitals, as per the latest healthcare industry estimates.
While Ahmedabad is home to Asia’s largest civil hospital, Goa is an emerging destination for medical tourism in India.
“The current e-visa facility which allows foreign nationals to stay 30 days in India for medical treatment and facilitates their three visits to the country is a boon to India’s medical tourism industry, according to the chief public relations officer at Indian Eagle LLC, a leading international travel organization for Indians in America.