India's market for medical tourism is expected to touch the $9 billion mark by 2020, according to a report released by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Ernst & Young.
As per the report titled ‘India: Building Best Practices in Healthcare Services Globally 2019’, the rising costs of health care in developed countries such as the US and the UK will make India an affordable alternative in the coming years. The report also noted that the country is one of the preferred destinations for Medical Value Travel (MVT) as it occupies the fifth position among 41 major medical tourism destinations, as per Medical Tourism Index Overall ranking, 2016.
Major destinations in India
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata are the preferred destination cities for medical tourists arriving in India. Nearly 27 percent of India's medical tourists head to Maharashtra, out of which 80 percent go to Mumbai. Chennai attracts nearly 15 percent of the incoming foreign patients while Kerala handles around 5 percent to 7 percent.\
Main source markets for India
According to the report, India hosts around five lakh medical value travellers annually from different source countries. Major markets for India are the South-East Asian counries, the Middle-East, Africa and SAARC countries. More than 50 percent of medical travellers coming into India are from Bangladesh.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals on medical visa
The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) coming to India on a medical visa has been on the rise over the past few years. The average growth rate has been around 55 percent, and it is expected to be maintained in the coming years.
Why is India preferred by medical tourists?
Affordability of treatment is a key factor that puts India higher up on the list of destination choices among medical tourists. When compared to medical care and treatment in the Western countries, people can save up to as much as 50 percent. For a foreign patient seeking treatment in India, daily travel costs would come up to around $31, as opposed to the $223 in the US, a considerable saving!
India has 38 hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), which is considered to be leading authority on global health care practices. It also has 619 hospitals accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH). Also, the post-operative mortality rate in India is around 1.4 percent as opposed to 1.9 percent in countries like the US, as per the report.
In addition to the above factors, India has a variety of tourist attractions, thereby incentivising travel for medical care. It thus offers a package which includes quality healthcare services, coupled with the option to explore a variety of tourist spots across the country.
How much can one save on different procedures?
If a patient is seeking treatment in India, he can save a considerable amount as against opting for the same medical procedures in developed countries. Medical procedures can be availed at very low prices, although some countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey do offer slightly competitive prices as mentioned in the report. As mentioned earlier, savings can be as much as 50 percent.