In India, the medical tourism market was estimated at $3 billion during 2015 which is estimated to grow at $14 billion by 2020 making it one of the popular medical tourism destinations in the world. India is perceived as one of the best medical tourism destination in the world as it offers treatment at lowest cost.
A wide variety of high quality medical procedures are offered at about one-tenth the cost of similar procedures in the US. Other advantages that are in favor of India are globally trained doctors and surgeons, language fluency of doctors and paramedic staff, internationally established medical infrastructure.
The number of foreign tourists visiting India on Medical Visa in the year 2014, 2015 and 2016 were 75,688; 1, 34,344 and 2, 01,333 respectively. According to a report, patients from Bangladesh and Afghanistan accounted for approximately 34% of foreign patients.
The government of India is aggressively promoting India as a global healthcare and wellness destination. According to the policy document, ‘Wellness Tourism’ can, therefore, be defined as travel that involves experiencing an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence. Ministry of Tourism, Government of India came up with the guidelines for promotion of wellness and medical as niche tourism products. Some of the key features of the guidelines are
- All the stakeholders engaged in wellness / medical tourism activities will form an association which will look into the interests of the industry.
- Financial assistance will be provided under the Marketing Development Assistance Scheme to all the Wellness Tourism Service Providers (WTSP), Medical Tourism Service Provider (MTSP), Wellness tourism Facilitators (WTF) and Medical Tourism Facilitators (MTF). Such facility will only be provided to agencies accredited by
National Accreditation Board of Hospitals (NABH), Joint Commission for International Accredited Hospitals (JCI), State governments, Travel Agents or Tour operators approved by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
- Constitution of Wellness and Medical Tourism Promotion Committee under the chairmanship of Minister of Tourism, Government of India. The committee will have members from tourism, culture, department of AYUSH, ministry of health & family welfare, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Hotel Association of India. The Secretary General of Indian Medical Association shall serve as the Member Secretary of the Committee.
- Financial assistance up to Rs. 10 lacs for organizing workshops / events / meets / seminars on 50:50 cost sharing basis.
- Financial assistance up to Rs. 25 lacs for organizing wellness and medical tourism promotion shows on 50:50 cost sharing basis.
- Financial support for organizing capacity building programmes for training the people involved in the wellness and medical tourism industry.
Service Providers of Medical Tourism in India
At present India has 33 hospitals which have been accredited by Joint Commission
International (JCI) which is the recognized leader in international health care accreditation. These include
|S.No.||Name of Hospital||Location||S.No.||Name of Hospital||Location|
|1||Aditya Birla Health Services Ltd.||Pune||18||Grewal Eye Institute Private Limited||Chandigarh|
|2||Ahalia Foundation Eye Hospital||Palakkad||19||Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals||New Delhi|
|3||Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals||Kolkata||20||Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital & Medical Research Institute||Mumbai|
|4||Apollo Hospital||Chennai||21||Maharaja Agrasen Hospital||New Delhi|
|5||Apollo Hospital||Hyderabad||22||Medanta – The Medicity||Gurgaon|
|6||Apollo Hospitals International Limited||Gandhi agar||23||Moolchand Hospital||New Delhi|
|7||Apollo Hospitals||Bangalore||24||Narayana Hrudayalaya Pvt. Ltd.||Bangalore|
|8||Artemis Hospital||Gurgaon||25||Narayana Multispecialty Hospital||Jaipur|
|9||Asian Heart Institute and Research Center Pvt Ltd||Mumbai||26||National Institute of Ophthalmology||Pune|
|10||Aster Medcity||Kochi||27||Rajagiri Hospital||Ernakulum|
|11||Care Institute of Medical Sciences||Ahmadabad||28||Sat guru Paratap Singh Hospital||Ludhiana|
|12||Columbia Asia Referral Hospital||29||Seven Hills Healthcare Private Limited||Mumbai|
|13||Dhirubhai Ambani Occupational Health And Family Welfare Centre||Jamnagar||30||Shroff Eye Hospital||Mumbai|
|14||Fortis Escorts Heart Institute||New Delhi||31||Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre||Chennai|
|15||Fortis Hospital Limited||Mumbai||32||Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd Unit: Adams Wylie Memorial||Mumbai|
All these hospitals have an independent international patient services department that take care of the international patients in connecting with the doctor, reimbursement of their insurance and arrange for travel /accommodation at the destination.
All the international tourists need a visa to travel to a country. India also offers a specialized medical visa to those who are seeking medical treatment in reputed/recognized specialized hospitals/treatment centers in India.
Up to two attendants who are blood relatives are allowed to accompany the applicant under separate Medical Attendant visas. This visa is not applicable for surrogacy. Before applying for visa, a certificate of preliminary medical advice from the country of origin/country of residence that shows the applicant has been advised to go for specialized medical treatment.
The medical visa is also given in case the applicant is desirous to go for treatment under the Indian system of Medicine. To promote medical tourism in the country, government of India also started with a visa-on-arrival system for patients from few selected countries, which allows foreign nationals to stay in India for 60 days for medical procedures.