Indian railway company sees potential in domestic medical tourism

The government owned Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has got into medical tourism in a big way. The IRCTC are targeting people from Eastern parts of India that need to travel to parts of South India for treatment.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation has got into medical tourism in a big way. It is targeting people from Kolkata, Guwahati and other parts of Eastern and North-Eastern India who need to travel to the south of India for treatment. It will also carry Bangladeshi patients who travel to India for treatment.

Debashis Chandra of IRCTC explains, “There are a lot of people from the Eastern and North-Eastern parts of the country who travel to Vellore and other parts of South India for treatment. Many of them are senior citizens who live alone. In some cases, their children live abroad and cannot travel to India at short notice. We take care of all their needs. We have a dedicated unit for such people. Once we know where they want to receive treatment, we get in touch with the hospital and fix up appointments with doctors. We then arrange for tickets for the patients and relatives. In case, they wish to travel by air, we arrange for flight tickets as well. If people require escorts during the journey, they are arranged.”

Once they reach the station or airport at their destination, the patients and their relatives are taken to hospitals. After the doctor gives his opinion, the family is moved to a hotel where IRCTC takes care of all meals and other necessities. After treatment, IRCTC brings them back to their homes with specialized care during travel if necessary.

As a government body, it feels it can offer good value for money service, as although many Indian medical tourism agents operate honestly, there are many stories of rogues charging excessive fees or stealing money.

Debashis Chandra adds, ” Now that we have started helping people in need of medical aid, touts will no longer be able to fleece them. For this activity, we are not paying too much attention to profits. Proper service is crucial, as we will be dealing with elderly people and those who are ill. Their demands will be different from the normal tourist. We have a dedicated team to look after their needs.”