Medical tourism to grow @21% in ’23

Medical Value Tourism (MVT) is steadily growing year on year and is expected to grow at the rate of 21 per cent in 2023, as per a report. It plays a crucial role in a country’s economic growth. In India, the central government, along with the industry, is actively working towards promoting the sector in the country.

India is revered as the land of ancient knowledge and wellness. From introducing the world to yoga and spirituality to now providing Medical Value Tourism (MVT), the globe has often looked towards the country as an answer to healing. The government, along with the industry, is actively working towards promoting MVT in India.

Besides, the rising price of treatments in Western countries and the war between Ukraine and Russia have made India a haven for patients seeking affordable medical treatment. The sector is steadily growing year on year and is expected to grow 21 per cent in 2023, as per a report.

The recent ‘One Earth One Health – Advantage Healthcare India – 2023’ program hosted by the Indian Government during G20 Summit in New Delhi was also an initiative to position India as a hub for medical tourism. The event witnessed 500 participants from more than 70 countries and it was a great opportunity for the medical industry stakeholders, experts and professionals to network and explore opportunities.

India is at an advantage to cater to the global medical needs because of affordability, first and foremost. One of the primary reasons for India’s popularity as a medical tourism destination is cost-effective healthcare, as compared to many developed countries. This not only includes the actual treatment, but also the pre and post-treatment rehabilitation. Patients from around the world can access quality treatment at a fraction of the price, ‘quality’ being the key term here. While the treatments are affordable, they are at par with inter-national standards. India is home to numerous state of the art hospitals and some of the world’s most respected medical fraternity. The healthcare institutions in India are equipped with modern technology and the medical fraternity, including the support staff, is highly skilled.

In terms of accessibility and language also, India enjoys a unique position. There is a significant English-speaking population in the country, which makes it easier for overseas patients. Thus, as an industry, MVT plays a crucial role in the country’s economic growth.

Recognising the same, the Indian government has been proactively promoting medical tourism and has implemented policies to facilitate the process, such as simplified visa procedures for medical travellers. Provisions like the Ayush Visa by the government will help overseas patients access MVT in India. This includes Ayurveda, Unani, naturopathy, homoeopathy, medicine, and wellness.

Initiatives like ‘Heal in India’ are perfect for branding the message. The collaboration between the Union Health Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Ayush Ministry, Civil Aviation Ministry, hospitals and other stakeholders has helped in building a roadmap to connect overseas patients with healthcare facilities in India. This is further boosting medical tourism, infrastructure development and R&D in the country.

The Marketing Development Assistance Scheme or MDA by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, is also a good initiative. The scheme provides financial support to approved tourism service providers. Services Exports Promotion Council, with financial support from the Ministry of Commerce, organises a global event named ‘India Heals’ every year for the global market. NABH has established a robust framework for the accreditation of hospitals to promote MVT.

This unprecedented growth in MVT is expected to scale from $6 billion currently to $13 billion by 2025. This will positively affect not just the healthcare sector, but also associated sectors such as tourism, industrialization, hospitality, and infrastructure development.

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