26 Aug 2021

Medical Tourism in India the Pull & Push Determinants

Post by uday patel


The health care ecosystem comprises medical tourism as one of the major happenings in service sectors in recent times. It is a lucrative segment for governments that brings in valuable foreign exchange, increases employment, and gives a fillip to the infrastructure.

Facilitating inbound medical travel empowers sufferers with an alternate treatment possibility, thereby expanding the horizon for an affordable or feasible recourse to a quality life.

AYSUH Ministry Drug


Medical travel marketing is booming, at least in countries that are at the forefront. A handful of countries with robust health care systems, multidisciplinary expertise, trained manpower, and ethos that welcome overseas visitors comply well to do justice to the popular term.

Travel for health depends upon many factors besides low-cost, quality treatments. To keep in tandem with advances made in medicine and boost health infrastructure, this critical role is played by the policies implemented and encouragement provided by the ruling dispensations.

The Pull Factor

India is one of the countries that could be placed high as regards medical travel is concerned. Some rating agencies rank it tenth among fifty countries that attract international patients to their shores. But we are being let down by tourism or travel substructure across the country. The impressive number of visitors to smaller countries that are much greater than what we attract indicates that we are not making optimum use of tourism potential in-country.

Quality, scalable health, and optimal tourism infrastructure are critical indicators of a countries potential to attract the sick and ailing for treatments. The robust system is, by all means, a quantitative measure reviewing which the rating agencies rank countries in this segment.

It is a deficiency in the tourism sector that impacts the overall travel potential. But, on the other hand, a weak health system, lack of experts, and deficiency in treatment methodology would harm a country’s tourism potential altogether. Fortunately, we are doing well in the former, at least. But the two aspects are inextricably linked, making the sector far more complex than the apparent.

In our case, the market value in health and inbound tourism combined is much less than even smaller countries with lesser potential, at least in tourism. We must acknowledge that more has to be done in improving travel and accommodation in the country. Though significant impetus in this sector is the responsibility of the ruling dispensations, private players need to come forward to improve things at their ends. We must be on par with international standards if we wish to see an impressive foreign exchange trickle into our coffers.

Though India ranks high amongst the countries in the fray to attract medical travelers, the poor state of air and road connectivity and absence of accommodation of international standards in certain quarters prevent us from achieving much more.

India lacks research, and more Government funding is needed in this aspect since the scale of investment is much beyond most private players’ capacity. Hence public and private cooperation would be highly fruitful in developing niche research centers. Moreover, intense research can lower treatment costs much further by developing our own medical devices and developing drugs to save precious lives.

How Can Government Push Medical Tourism?

Whence attracting international patients to our shore is concerned, the Center and State Levels governments are the key stakeholders. However, a proactive approach supports private players, which form the bulk of the setup to optimize the determinants efficiently. This would help create a robust influx of medical travelers to the country.

Although we are pretty successful in attracting medical travelers to India, the figures can be augmented with the right stimulus package. Schemes like Atmnirbhar Bharat and the formation of the AYSUH Ministry are fillips in the right direction. The former will encourage the development of medical equipment and devices, while the latter will create a holistic medical travel model in India.

Medical Tourism figures are expected to rise higher than the current six billion USD in India provided the stakeholders adopt a proactive and committed stance. Secondly, we should also take into consideration the significant other that is innovation and creativity. Without these virtues, we will be relegated further down the line. As a result, we will be placed in fourth place, if not the 10th.

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