Excellent healthcare infrastructure, medical services and affordability place India among the world’s emerging health tourism hubs
DUBAI- June 03, 2014: “India is fast becoming a leading Medical Value Destination, offering world class quality of expertise and technology, combined with personalized services and low cost of treatment” — revealed experts speaking at a seminar held recently in Dubai. The seminar, which addressed trends in “Medical Value Travel (MVT)” and Healthcare Advancements, consisted of a panel of experts from the healthcare, insurance and tourism industries in the UAE and India. The seminar was hosted by ASTER DM Healthcare, the leading healthcare conglomerate in the Middle East and India.
The seminar, which was open to all, discussed various factors which account for the growth of India’s medical tourism, including the recent leniency on medical tourism visas by the Government of India. Under the new visa regulations, patients can obtain medical tourism visa for up to one year with multiple entries allowing one time for treatment as well as follow ups across the best medical facilities in the country.
Cities like Kochi are well connected to the GCC region and other parts of the world with an entire web of air connectivity, and wonderfully aligned with natural beauty and greenery. These affordable tourism hubs attract people from across the globe and have also helped increase the number of health tourists travelling to India to avail advanced modern medical treatment at affordable costs.
Speaking at the seminar, Mr. Ashok Babu – Deputy Consul General & Consul Commerce at Indian Consulate in Dubai, said: “Being one of the first countries to be recognised for its potential of medical tourism, the private sector in India has invested strongly into this sector to develop a strong medical infrastructure that is at par with international standards. The sector has been growing at a consistent pace in India, helping it emerge as one of the leading destinations for medical tourists across the world.”
According to the 2010 data from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, the key medical products which contribute to the boom of medical tourism in India are Cardiology, amounting to 29 per cent, Orthopedics (15 per cent), Nephrology (12 per cent), oncology (11 per cent), Neuro surgery (11 per cent) and others which contribute 22 per cent.
Highlighting the key trends in Indian healthcare sector, Dr Harish Pillai, CEO of Aster Medcity – Kochi (one amongst the largest quaternary care hospitals in the South Asian region), said: “Healthcare in India, especially in Kerala, is growing tremendously. Some of the key factors contributing to this growth are the presence of high quality human resources, increasing disease burden, quality accreditations, increasing penetration of health insurance in the country, apart from the growing focus of the government and the private sector into tier II and III cities”
“Growing trends such as the emergence of telemedicine and high ratio of medical tourism, the practice of quality standards with National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Health care Providers (NABH) by the Government of India, and Joint Commission International (JCI) or Canadian-Australian accreditations contribute greatly to the growth of this sector,” he added.
“The consistently growing medical tourism sector in India is has been supported by the excellent medical facilities that facilitate medical value travelers efficiently for their medical requirements, provided with advantages in terms of excellent infrastructure, competitive costs and availability of highly skilled internationally renowned doctors,” Dr Pillai further said.
It is seen that the highest number of medical tourists in India come from Bangladesh at 22 per cent, followed closely by Maldives at 17 per cent, according to the 2012 statistics by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. As per report, the GCC region contributes 5 per cent, of which 2 per cent comes from the UAE.
Speaking about Aster Medcity in Kochi, Dr Pillai added, “The advanced medical city will not only support the medical requirements of the state and country, but also provide avenues for medical tourism to the country. The state-of-the-art quaternary care referral hospital cluster with a total 1,100-bed capacity will be within easy reach of local and international communities, especially the people from the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia for advanced and cost-effective care.”