Growing medical tourism industry of India

India is a perfect destination for medical tourism that combines health treatment with visit to some of the most alluring and awe-inspiring places of the world. A growing number of tourists are flocking in large numbers because of the superlative and cost effective medical care, equipments and facilities that India offers. India now hosts and treats an estimated of 50,000 medical tourists a year and the catalytic CII-McKinsey report of 2002 projected that medical tourism could contribute up to Rs 10,000 crores in revenue by the year 2012 and 20,000 crores by 2018.

At an approximate growth of 30% each year, studies conducted by government and private sectors in India estimate that medical tourism could bring between 3-4 billion US $ into India by 2015. Foremost is the cost factor. The medical costs in India are one-tenth of the costs in western countries. For instance, a heart surgery costs $6,000 in India as against $30,000 in the US. Similarly, a bone marrow transplant costs $26,000 in India as compared to $ 2, 50,000 in the US. Secondly, foreign patients throng Indian hospitals to pass up the long waiting lists and queues in their native countries.

Indian hospitals provide immediate attention to patients rather than asking them to wait for several months like in most western countries. Further, foreign patients need not tackle insurance and national medical systems in India as they have to in their native lands. India offers the best treatments in modern medicine and in every medical division such as cardiology, orthopedic surgery, eye care, gynecology, cosmetic surgery and dental surgery. It also provides traditional methods of treatment such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Yoga. India’s private hospitals have gained international recognition for their state-of-the-art facilities and diagnostic centers besides unsurpassed skills.

Their technology and procedures are on par with hospitals in developed nations. Foreign patients can get package deals including flights, transfers, hotels, treatment and postoperative vacation for their medical visits to India. Many foreign patients prefer to combine their leisure and relaxation visits to India with healthcare. The Government of India has declared that treating of foreign patients is legal. It is encouraging medical tourism in the country by offering tax breaks and export incentives for participating hospitals. In addition, the Government has cleared medical visas.