Medical Tourism in India – Top 5 Reasons for the Boom

Western shores are no longer ‘greener’ for people living in India who used to rush to countries such as U.S.A and U.K in the hope of finding better medical facilities.

The burgeoning Medical Tourism industry has witnessed the flow of medical tourists from the Western countries to developing nations such as India. So, what has led to emergence of this inverse trend?

Poised to be India’s next big industry, the medical tourism industry in the country is growing by leaps and bounds. Ranked by many surveys as the top 5 destinations in the world, India plays host to more than 150,000 medical tourists every year. The Indian healthcare industry is expected to become a US$280 billion industry by 2020. A CII-McKinsey report that India’s medical tourism sector is likely to experience an astonishing growth rate of 30% per year and the country’s earnings through medical tourism would go up to $2 billion by this year.

Let’s take a look at the top five reasons for India’s popularity as a medical destination.

1. Cost: According to a report published in the leading magazine BusinessWorld report, a heart bypass surgery will incur an expenditure of US$144,000 in the U.S., US$25,000 in Costa Rice, US$24,000 in Thailand, US$20,000 in Mexico and US$8,500 in India. The competitive pricing of the Indian medical tourism industry is its most lucrative aspect. The heart surgery centers, dental clinics, orthopedic centers and bariatric surgery centers are offering services at a significantly lesser price as compared to America and U.K. An orthopedic surgery in Apollo hospital at New Delhi, India costs about $6300 as compared to $20,000 that it costs in the U.S. Also, dental implants cost only about $900 in Indian dental clinics as compared to around $3,500 in the U.S

2. Quality of Medical Care:The second reason for India’s popularity as a medical destination is the availability of state of the art medical equipment and cutting edge technology. India has the largest number of USFDA (U.S. Food and Drugs Administration)-approved drug manufacturing units outside the U.S. The private hospitals in India, namely the chain of ‘Apollo Hospitals’ that runs more than 50 hospitals with over 8,500 beds in the major cities of India such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata and ‘Max Healthcare’ that runs eight medical centers in the city of New Delhi alone, have helped establish India’s renown as a country that boasts of world-class medical facilities. Apollo Hospitals attract the largest numbers of international patients followed by hospitals such as Max, Fortis and Workhardt. Other popular hospitals in India include the Escorts Hospital and Research Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences and Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases. The country has also adopted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model to provide a boost to the healthcare infrastructure in the country.

3. Wellness Tourism.India is home to wellness tourism, one of the emerging trends in the medical tourism industry. The Indian Spa industry offers a mix of traditional Ayurvedic, Chinese and Thai techniques. Medical tourists from all over the world travel to India for spa and wellness vacations and preventive health services that include DNA testing and stem-cell banking. Indian Spa industry boasts of almost 2,300 spas run by 20-25 spa centers that are spread over small and big towns, mostly concentrated in the Southern states of States of Kerala and Karnataka. The alternative healing massages of Kerala are especially popular among the tourists. Birla Kerala Vaidyashala Ayurvedic Spa Services is one of the popular spa centers in the country.

4. Exotic Location.Theenticing beauty of Taj Mahal, the pristine beaches of Goa & the soothing backwaters of Kerala, the exotic locations of Rajasthan & Jaisalmer and the spectacular scenery of Kanyakumari are some of the tourist attractions that add to the mesmerizing charm of the country. The country provides a perfect gateway to a rejuvenating holiday for the medical tourists.

5. Highly Qualified Doctors: India produces the largest number of doctors, nurses and medical technicians in the world. The country produces around 30,000 doctors and nurses each year. The British influence on the medical education and the ability to speak English fluently has helped further develop global health care in the country. Many of the doctors in India have either studied in the top medical institutions of the world or have received their training abroad. Most doctors in India are bilingual, board certified and accustomed to dealing with foreign patients.

All these reasons make India an ideal destination for those seeking an escape from the exorbitant costs of medical treatment in their own country. Not only are the low costs of various medical facilities, such as the cost of gastric sleeve in India, tempting enough for the medical tourists, but also the chance to explore this fascinating country that attracts them in hordes every year.