From January 1 to June 30 this year, the number of medical visas issued to Omanis has jumped three fold. The statistics reveal that India is becoming a prime destination for Omanis who opt for advanced treatment. According to the data: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and New Delhi are the top five destinations where Omanis visited for medical treatment during the last six months.
The Indian Embassy in Muscat issues medical, tourism, business and student visas for Omanis. Omanis travels to India to seek treatment for cardiovascular, gastroenterology, orthopaedic, oncology, ophthalmology and dental ailments.
Low price is one attraction. Another is that due to cultural similarities and historical ties, many Omanis feel at home in India. The processing of official papers for going to India for medical purposes is much easier than any other country.
An Omani medical tourism agency says that visa enquiries for treatment in India are very high. Hassan Mohsin Al Lawati of Al Furdha Services says, “More and more Omanis want to visit India as it is an affordable and trusted destination for medical care. Most customers sent to India are quite happy after their return. During the last six months, we have assisted more than 50 Omanis to go for treatment in India.”
The government of India is planning to provide visa on arrival facilities to Oman and other GCC nationals as part of a major drive to attract tourists from the Gulf region. India is already providing visa on arrival facility to 17 nationalities.
The Indian state of Rajasthan seeks to attract patients from neighbouring countries as the state government has started working on formulating a separate policy on medical tourism.
In an initiative aimed at positioning Bhubaneswar as a complete health destination and promoting medical tourism in a big way, Odisha plans to develop an integrated health city. The health city will be built on the outskirts of the city on 150-200 acres of land. Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha (Idco) has prepared the concept note for the project.
PK Jena of Idco explains,” The proposed health city is at a conceptual stage and will have various components including super specialty hospital, medical college, residential zones, high-end diagnostic centre and common infrastructure facilities. Destinations like Gurgaon, Chennai and Hyderabad already have health cities while one such city is soon coming up in Vishakhapatnam. A health city in Odisha will help us pull medical tourists to the state.” Medanta- the medicity in Gurgaon founded by cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan is spread across 43 acres including a super specialty hospital, research centre, medical and nursing school.