Medical tourism is the next big industry in the world like Information Technology. Medical tourism is also called as wellness and health tourism. It is the industry that features people from all across the world, travelling to foreign countries to get surgical, dental and medical care and also visiting tourist attractions of the countries in the same trip.
The top medical tourism destinations of the world are Malaysia, Israel, India, Costa Rica, Singapore, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, United States and Thailand. The top treatments sought by medical tourists include: Dentistry, Cosmetic surgery, Cardio-vascular care and surgery, Cancer, Orthopaedics, Reproductive treatment, weight loss treatment, scans and tests.
The market size of global medical tourism is estimated at US $45 to 72 billion in 2016. Around 14 million patients crossing borders globally, spend an average of around $ 4000 to $6000 per trip that covers cost of treatment, local and international transport, stay in hospitals and other accommodation. Around 1,400, 000 residents of U.S. will travel out of the country in 2016, seeking medical care, abroad.
Global medical tourism market is estimated to be growing at 15 to 25% rates and inbound flow of patients is highest in South Asia, South East Asia and Mexico.
Indian medical tourism is a booming sector. It was worth US $3 billion in 2015 and is predicted to grow to $8 billion by 2020. The main reasons for the popularity of medical tourism in India are because of the cost effectiveness of treatment, high-quality of care and availability of internationally accredited facilities at a fraction of the cost.
Main source ofpatients was earlier from USA, UK and Canada but now there is increasing flow of medical tourists form the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Baltic, African and Asian countries. The market also consists of secondary players form the tourism industry. Major corporations like Fortis, Tata, Wockhardt, Max and Apollo hospitals have invested heavily in launching super specialty hospitals and allied tourism related services.
The main reason for medical tourism to India is availability of high quality care at cost –effective rates. For instance, a heart bypass that costs $140,000 in the US is available in India for around $7000 or Rs.3 lakhs. Even you factor in, cost of travel and accommodation, high quality procedures like cosmetic surgery, knee and hip replacement, etc. are much more affordable in the country. Indian hospitals are equipped with technology that is on par with the best in the world.
Another advantage is that English is an official language and spoken widely. The government is also encouraging health tourism India by relaxing Visa requirements for those seeking medical care in India. Many hospitals have also got accreditation by JCA (Joint Commission Accreditation)- an international body. India is also a popular centre for alternative medicine like Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Yoga, Unani, Sidha, Homeopathy and Acupuncture.
The major centre of medical tourism in India is Tamil Nadu. It has a profusion of hospital beds in top line hospitals that cater to foreigners as well as those from outside the state. Today, India is beating competition from countries like South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.