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22 Ideas On How To Make Medical Tourism Take Off In India

India’s reputation as a producer of quality vaccines and pharma products got a boost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

India should thus look to increase its share in the world wellness tourism market. Medical Value Travel (MVT) in India is expected to grow to $13 billion by 2026.

The word medical tourism is often used in this context, but what is it really?

It means people from abroad coming to India for treatment of the body and the mind.

It includes allopathy, nature cure like involving Ayurveda/Yoga and spiritual Indic philosophy with the last three being an integral part of India for centuries. India offers excellent options for rejuvenation and alternate therapies.

What is India’s advantage? Quality medical care, lower cost, doctors/nurses fluent in English and a rich tradition of wellness.

In 2019, foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India based on medical visa was 697,000 (2017: 495,056). India receives most of its medical tourists from Afghanistan, Oman, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nigeria, Kenya and Iraq.

Let us look at country-wise foreign tourist arrivals in 2020 based on medical purposes (186,644). Due to the pandemic this might not be representative but gives us an idea of the likely minimum we can expect.

The 2020 table shows India’s neighbourhood, West Asia and Africa are significant contributors to medical visa travel (MVT). To the countries above add Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

The above numbers indicate there is scope for substantial improvement.

We cannot take solace in the fact that the number of such visas issued by the Dubai Consulate increased from 523 in 2016 to 545 in 2017.

India needs to increase the absolute numbers with more patients from Europe, Africa and Central Asia. After all, just look at the cost differential.


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