Medical Tourism: An Oar to the Indian Economy

Tourism is an important and rapidly growing industry of the Indian economy. This industry contributes to around 8-9% of India’s total GDP and creates millions of employment opportunities. Being home to various cultures, our country attracts tourists throughout the year. With an efficient and well-established infrastructure in terms of communication, transportation and a tourist-friendly visa policy, the number of tourists has seen a growth with each passing year. 

Apart from this, medical tourism has witnessed considerable growth and success in the Indian economy. Indian medical tourism sector is estimated to be worth 3 billion US dollars and is growing at a speedy rate with each passing year. The top ten source countries contributing to India’s medical tourism include Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iraq, Maldives, Oman, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. 

Apart from Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, various other cities have seen an increase in the number of patients from various countries. Medical tourism in India is largely promoted by the government and fueled by the corporate boom in medical care. There are a number of reasons contributing to this industry, the two major reasons being affordability and accessibility.

What seeds medical tourism?

Globalisation brings with it a plethora of opportunities for consumers to choose from and for countries to expand their scope of development. Apart from evolution, it also provides an opportunity for countries to collaborate their resources and provide the best in terms of education and health to the citizens of the world. One such brilliant example is India’s efficient medical facilities that are made available to the citizens at an affordable price. 

India offers a complete posy of healthcare facilities available at an affordable and attractive price which is less than 40% than any developed western country without any compromise on the quality and care. Adding to this the travel, accommodation and insurance are also made available at a very reasonable rate. 

While the cost of living in India is 66.54% lower than in the USA and the rent in India is 85% lower than in the USA which is another major reason why people fly to India for treatments that require staying at the place of treatment for a long period of time. People across the globe consider themselves as global citizens, thus ensure exploring the best opportunities across the world and India’s personalised touch of care in the form of Atithi-Devo-Bhava plays a crucial role in the recent growth of medical tourism in the country. 

The accessibility and comfort are also the reasons why India is favourable for treatments and attracts patients from across the globe. To begin with, the medical visa norms of the country are very simplified and easy to gain access to, this ensures hassle-free travel, treatment and stay for the patient as well as the attendant. 

The medical visa assures multiple entries and longer stays, the recent development of e-medical visa that was launched by the Union Government has been viewed as a key element in boosting medical tourism in India. Alongside, India is home to multiple cuisines and offers organically prepared food that speeds up the process of getting healthier also attracts people for getting treated with the least disturbance to their comfort zone. India also ensures no language barrier as it is claimed to be the second-largest English speaking country in the world. Lean or no waiting for surgeries as compared to long waiting for even simple surgeries in the western countries also pegs the way for tourists visiting India for medicinal purposes.

India has always been a hub of genius brains that can excel in all the fields. Technology and medicine have been going hand-in-hand lately. India has shown the fastest adoption of recent medical technology when compared to its developing counterparts. With more than 500 accredited healthcare providers, India offers a variety of options at different locations in the country to choose from as per the visitor’s convenience. 

Indian doctors, medicinal research, treatment and technology has been found to be at par with the western standard so much so that over 12% of doctors practising in the UK and US are from India. Staffed by expert professional and healthcare providers who are efficient in the use of the latest methods of treatments using the required technology along with modern infrastructure boosts the number of visitors each year that visit the diverse nation for medical treatment. 

On the Home Front

The metropolitan cities continue to be the top listers when asked for the preferred city for treatment. To begin with, Chennai is known as the medical capital of the country as it attracts 40% of medical tourists annually for its high-quality treatment and world-class natural medicinal treatments. It attracts patients seeking bone marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery, hip replacement and alternative treatments. 

Next in line is Mumbai, the business capital of India is also a hub of commendable medical facilities housed inside efficient infrastructure with numerous super-speciality hospitals, Research and Diagnostic Centre for Orthopaedic and weight-loss surgeries. Mumbai attracts a large number of patients seeking cosmetic surgery and Ayurveda treatment. Coming up next is the National Capital Territory of Delhi, it is home to several well-equipped private hospitals that offer special packages to foreign patients for general surgeries, eye surgery, heart care and neuro-surgeries. 

The upward trend in medical tourism is a piece of good news for the domestic citizens as well. With more and more people travelling to India for medical benefits it speeds up the pace of infrastructural development in the health sector. The development is not limited to building better hospitals that are equipped with the latest technology and staffing healthcare professional that are well versed with the most efficient treatments, or preparing medical students that can give birth to unique treatments with their genius but also providing these world-class to its very own citizens in their own country at the best price possible. 

Along with healthcare facilities, medical tourism plays a key role in keeping the hospitality industry running and enhancing its presence in the world. The advent of the novel coronavirus and India’s excellent plan to control the mass damage has fetched it another brownie point for the citizens to trust the Indian healthcare system. Our effective vaccination drive, which is inaugurated by bringing into use the vaccines made at home (India) and the Prime Minister’s drive to help other nations in need is a commendable combination of the personal touch added to the treatment, atithi-devo-bhava (guest is equivalent to God), our history of extending arms in times of crisis and most importantly, the genius brain of our scientists and doctors!


Vanshika Sighroha

A woman with opinions and confidence to voice them out freely, I am currently pursuing my majors in Economics. With a love for food, books and movies, I also love to write and further expand my horizon. I find my solace in travelling and good music!

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