India’s Maharashtra tourism department is launching a website to accredit and serve as a single source of information about medical travel destinations in the state. It will provide authenticated information to domestic and international patients seeking medical care in Maharashtra and could cut legal and illegal medical tourism agents out of the process.
Maharashtra is trying to leverage its strength in the medical treatment and wellness sector, which includes yoga, AYUSH and meditation. The new website will include doctors, practitioners, hospitals, spas, transport and travel agencies, service providers, bureaus providing bedside assistants for patients and security services.
There is no known timescale for the website launch. The state is consulting with local and national industry and health and wellness sector bodies for their inputs. A nominal registration fee will be charged for advertisers, to make the project self-sustaining and exclude non-serious players.
The local and national Indian medical tourism industry is largely unorganised, and the Maharashtra state tourism department admits that there are some unethical operators. They hope the website, as a single-source of authentic information through a system of accreditation and background information will remove these operators. Hotels will also be sensitised to deal with those in the post-operative and recuperation stages. There will be a feedback system and the state will de-register those who gather negative reviews. The services of tourist guides registered with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will also be made available.
Maharashtra is in the Western and Central part of India, with Mumbai as the state capital and home to 1,400 hospitals. Less than 5% of the millions of tourists to the state are not from India. There are no official state figures on medical tourism for Indians or foreigners.
India is an international medical travel destination for patients seeking treatment at competitive rates but there are risks, opportunities, and many problems. For an up to date analysis of inbound medical tourism in India, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.