Medical tourism provides a major impetus to the developing Indian economy. Currently valued at US$ 6 billion, the medical tourism industry in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.1% in the period 2020-27. As per the Medical Tourism Index 2020-21, India ranks 10th out of the top 46 countries in the world. With absolute and precise strategies to bolster this sector, medical value tourism in India can help the country capture a larger share in the global healthcare industry.
For centuries, India has been recognized as a unique destination for ancient knowledge and wellness. Other than the normal medical practices, streams of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Naturopathy, Siddha, Homoeopathy, Yoga and meditation are now acknowledged around the world. Having a focused approach towards medical tourism can help the Government promote India as a holistic country for wellness, offering both modern and traditional healthcare services.
Countries which lack adequate medical facilities look towards India for cost effective, high quality medical care. People from all over the world travel to India for its healthcare services, now a rising global phenomenon, which has the potential to increase employment and facilitate foreign exchange earnings, thereby facilitating economic growth and development.
The global medical travel market size accounted for US$104.68 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach US$273.72 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 12.8% from 2019 to 2027. Though the past two years have seen a dip in the inflow of medical tourism, it has slowly started picking up pace again.
To boost medical tourism in India, it is essential to facilitate awareness via Government and industry initiatives. For the same, the Government of India has undertaken the “Heal in India” and “Heal by India” initiatives to promote medical value tourism. The former places India as a global hub for medical and wellness tourism, by bolstering medical infrastructure in 37 hospitals across 12 states. Not only will this strengthen the healthcare system but will also act as a revenue generator.
As a part of the Heal by India initiative, the Health Ministry is creating an online database of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, with an aim to position the country as a global source of trained and competent labour in the health sector.
With the same idea in mind, the Confederation of Indian Industry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has proposed to organize an annual event, “Heal in India, Healing from India.” This will entail knowledge sessions with discussions on accreditation, advanced medical technology, skilled doctors, hospitality services, foreign patient affairs, affiliation with external organisations, collaboration with travel stakeholders and social responsibility.
The objective of the sessions would be to highlight value in seeking medical care in India. The event shall provide a platform for exhibitions and buyer-seller meets to coin business linkages, network, address the growing demands in medical value travel and will act as an opportunity to launch new product and services. The event shall showcase leading hospitals and their medical services, providing multiple opportunities to connect with the current clients and prospective clients.
CII is also conducting multiple interactions with the Government and industry stakeholders and organizing several round table interactions across the country to deliberate on the ways to strengthen the country’s healthcare services framework and devise strategies to promote India as a medical tourism destination more aggressively.
Owing to its skilled manpower and globally competitive healthcare technology, India has become a hub for medical tourists. This put together, along with its edge in alternative health care services, such as Ayurveda and Yoga, India has secured a prominent place on the medical travel index. The initiatives taken together by the Government and industry alike, will indeed strengthen India’s position as a preferred medical value destination.