Medical Tourism

  • India is considered a preferred destination for cardiology, orthopaedics, transplant and ophthalmology in curative care, it also enjoys high credibility in wellness and prevention and alternative medicine.
  • A rare combination of advanced facilities, skilled doctors, and low cost of treatment has made India a popular hub of medical tourism, attracting a large number of foreign patients every year.
In news:
  • The government plans to bring out a policy to promote India as a key destination for medical tourism.
  • The proposed policy aims to promote integrated treatment with allopathy, ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) streams.
  • The Union commerce ministry, along with ministries of tourism and health, has already launched a portal,, in three languages – Arabic, Russian and French— to provide comprehensive information to medical travellers.
  • Medical tourism in India is projected to be a $9 billion opportunity by 2020. Currently, medical tourism industry is pegged at $3 billion. Globally, the medical tourism market is estimated at around $40-60 billion.
Key Facts:
  • India is emerging as one of the most credible destinations worldwide for curative treatment.
  • With the given scale of healthcare infrastructure and projected growth, India can further strengthen its standing among the currently popular medical value tourism destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Mexico.
  • A latest knowledge paper by FICCI and Quintiles IMS shows over 5,00,000 foreign patients seek treatment in India each year.
  • SAARC countries such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Maldives are the major sources of medical value travel, followed by African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
  • Reasons: Proximity, cultural connect and connectivity are the key reasons for inflow of patients to India from these regions.
Measures implemented to promote medical tourism:
  • The process to issue medical visas has been made much more efficient, thus reducing the time taken in visa procurement.
  • The scope of e-tourist visa has been expanded to include short- term medical treatment.
  • Separate immigration counters and facilitation desks have also been set up at major Indian airports to boost the medical travel industry.

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