Realism needed for India’s Medical Tourism Roadmap

To boost medical tourism in India, the national government has now formulated a National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism. Some hospitals and organisations hope that India can attract business from Europe and the USA but realism is needed in who will travel to the country for treatment.

The strategy document envisions marketing India as a medical and wellness tourism destination under the Heal in India brand.  Heal in India will be promoted as sub-brand of Incredible India on the digital platforms and global media campaign of the Ministry of Tourism.

The aim is to provide a  framework to promote medical tourism, wellness tourism and yoga, Ayurveda tourism and other formats of the Indian system of medicine covered by Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).

India’s healthcare sector now has room for domestic and international medical tourists, as it is no longer overburdened by the pandemic. Fortis Healthcare and others have reported that medical tourism is slowly picking up with prospects of normal levels within months.

India mainly gets medical tourists from nearby countries such as, Pakistan, Oman, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nigeria, Kenya, and Iraq but it faces fierce completion from other Asian countries and Iran.

The distances for air travel are long for international patients from Europe and the USA. While a few hospitals can offer the type of service that Europeans expect, most are used to low paying Asian customers and do not have the quality and extent of services. Past attempts at targeting Americans and Europeans have failed due to service quality being less than promised, and a lack of understanding about how USA, UK and European healthcare and health insurance systems work.