Why Choose India for Medical Tourism?
Foreign patients traveling to India to seek medical treatment in 2012, 2013 and 2014 numbered 171,021, 236,898, and 184,298 respectively. Traditionally, the United States and the United Kingdom have been the largest source countries for medical tourism to India.
Medical tourism is a growing sector in India and the country has emerged as a leading health care destination with thousands of ‘medical tourists’ availing the services of its hospitals having the most skilled doctors in the world and modern medical equipment.
According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) 150,000 medical tourists came to India in 2005, based on feedback from the organization’s member hospitals. The number grew to 200,000 by 2008. A separate study by ASSOCHAM reported that the year 2011 saw 850,000 medical tourists in India and projected that by 2015 this number would rise to 3,200,000.
A visa-on-arrival scheme for tourists from select countries has been instituted that allows foreign nationals to stay in India for 30 days for medical reasons.
Recently, Dubai-based Emirates airlines teamed up with Apollo Hospitals to connect international patients with quality healthcare services in India.
Global Price Comparison for Medical Treatment
Comparing global prices for medical treatment, India leads in the race for providing quality healthcare services at affordable prices. A heart bypass surgery in India costs USD 6,500, while in the US it costs between USD 30,000 and USD 80,000. This is a huge, untapped market, not just for therapeutic medical tourism like Ayurveda, but also for curative treatment.
India’s efforts to promote medical tourism took off in late 2002, when the CII prepared a study on the country’s medical tourism sector, which outlined immense potential for the sector.
To address the potential, a national medical and wellness tourism board has been constituted to provide a dedicated institutional framework to take forward the cause of promotion of medical tourism, wellness tourism and yoga, Ayurveda tourism and any other format of Indian system of medicine covered by AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).