India can generate $5 billion through health tourism
–– NEW DELHI ––
India has the potential to attract one million health tourists every year and this will contribute up to $5 billion to the economy, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on August 15.
India must leverage its competitive edge, especially its cost advantage, to attract a large number of medical tourists to the country, the CII study report said.
A heart surgery in the U.S. costs $30,000 while the same would incur $6,000 in India. Similarly, bone marrow transplant in the U.S. costs $250,000 while it is $26,000 in India, said the CII report.
“With yoga, meditation, ayurveda, allopathy, and other systems of medicine, India offers a unique basket of services to an individual that is difficult to match by other countries,” it said.
“Also, clinical outcomes in India are at par with the world’s best centres, besides having internationally qualified and experienced specialists.” The lobby group said it was working with the Indian Healthcare Federation (IHCF) and tour operators to promote attractive packages for medical tourism in the country.
India attracted approximately 150,000 patients to the country in the last year.
Thailand with a population of 60 million has been successful in attracting one million health tourists last year because of the development of world-class infrastructure.
According to the CII, the reason behind Thailand managing to tap the health tourism market successfully was aggressive international marketing in conjunction with the tourism authority.
“It has also integrated with traditional medicine and service integration with tourism,” it said, adding India should also replicate the Thai model and capitailise on its strengths to become a world player in medical tourism.
CII said the government should encourage medical tourism by increasing air connectivity linking major cities like News Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata and create health support infrastructure.
It is also essential to establish the Indian healthcare brand as synonymous with safety, trust and excellence.
“There is a need to undertake an international marketing campaign targeted at select countries, besides establishing one-stop centres in key markets to facilitate the inflow of foreign patients,” said the report.
“There is also a need to streamline immigration process for medical visitors.
“If India develops its infrastructure to international levels, it will be able to benefit medical services sector and moreover help the world access the Indian medical services.”