Medical Tourism- A Growing Sector

India being a land of cultural and geographical diversity has always been a very popular tourist spot over the years. And not to forget tourism economically contributed to the country’s GDP at around 3% in the year 2016, which is about US$2,229.8bn. Over the past years the government has contributed a lot to make Indian tourism a better experience for all the tourists out there. The most common and simplest meaning of tourism is, ‘the commercial organisation and operation of holidays and visit to places of interest’. And a tourist can be defined as the person, who makes a tour away from home for leisure, business or other purpose for more than a day but less than year. Mainly the following are the most popular kinds of tourists:

  1. Incentive tourists– these are those kinds of tourists who take a holiday package as a reward from the company, for achieving certain set company targets.
  2. Health or medical tourist– these are the kind of tourists who seek special medical treatment, which is only possible away from home. So they travel to other countries to avail medical assistance.
  3. Business tourists– the kind of tourist travelling for business purpose for business conference etc.
  4. Education tourists– the tourists who travel to particular city or town for further educational qualifications.
  5. Cultural tourists– these kinds of tourists travel in experience of assorted culture such as cultural festivals. They travel to see the world heritage.

So, today we would be discussing about the most popular and fast-growing tourism, i.e. medical tour India. The medical tourism in India was estimated to be worth US$ 3billion in 2015, and is projected to grow to $7-8 billion by 2020. So, given below is a table of the top 10 states that have the most count of medical tourists:

Top 10 states Foreign visits (in lakhs) %
Maharashtra 5.1 28.5
Tamil Nadu 2.8 15.7
Delhi 1.9 10.6
Uttar Pradesh 1.7 9.4
Rajasthan 1.3 7.2
West Bengal 1.2 6.7
Kerela 0.7 3.7
Bihar 0.6 3.6
Himachal Pradesh 0.5 2.5
Goa 0.4 2.5
TOTAL: top 10 sates 16.1 90.3
Others 1.7 9.7
TOTAL 17.9 100

Although the contribution of medical tourism seems pretty great in India, every year, hundreds of medical students leave our country to pursue overseas career. Amongst them many who could have stayed on if there were more opportunities? So, how to improve the health care tourism in India? A key concern faced by the medical tourists is visas. Our current medical visa regime needs to be simplified. More opportunities should be created for the nurses and doctors in India with the help of centre and state cooperation. Although more than 2 lakh tourists come to India every year, we should be able to provide both modern and traditional treatment in world class setting at affordable prices. Also another important aspect would be good and cheap accommodation for the medical tourists. Assuming they are already spending a huge amount on medical treatment, cost effective lodging would be very helpful to them. I am sure the medical tourism would prosper even more if the above said details would be kept in mind. Because as a country our prosperity lies in their good stay and hey we do believe in ‘atithi devo bhava’.