INDIA. Delhi: The government of India on its part is trying to help out every industry to bounce back, and the recent announcement of giving out five lakh free visas is a welcome move and hailed by everyone in the travel and health industry. Combined with schemes in the health sector, this certainly will be a big boost to Medical Tourism which took a big hit due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
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Scope of Medical Tourism in India
According to the government, around 10.93 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019 and spent about $30.098 billion on leisure, business, and medical treatment. For large private hospital chains, medical tourism over the years has become an important revenue stream with decent realisations. The average revenue per occupied bed (ARPOB) from medical travelers is double that of the local patients. Since most patients meet the expense out-of-pocket, hospitals get instant payment without relying on insurance, where the package rates are low and payments are delayed.
Big hospital chains like Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare, Max Healthcare, Aster DM Healthcare, Narayana Health among others are earning high from medical travelers.
According to a report by Ernst & Young Global Limited, India has 38 Joint Commission International-accredited hospitals, the fourth highest after Brazil, Thailand, and Turkey. The savings of medical treatment costs in India with respect to the US is the highest at 65-90 percent, and the medical tourism industry in India is growing at 18% CAGR year on year and is expected to be worth $9 billion by 2020
The major destination cities in India are Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. A total of 27 percent of medical travelers visit Maharashtra out of which 80 percent goes to Mumbai, Chennai attracts nearly 15 percent while Kerala handles around 5-7 percent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet
PM Modi was also happy with the recent announcements. “The measures will help to stimulate economic activities, boost production and exports and generate employment,” the PM tweeted. “Measures announced by FM @nsitharamantoday will enhance public health facilities, especially in under-served areas, boost private investment in medical infrastructure and augment critical human resources. The special focus is on strengthening healthcare facilities for our children.
Home minister Amit Shah also said, “This will increase employment and strengthen the economy.”