Since the 1990s, India has been rising as a global leader in “medical tourism”. People travel to India because it boasts highly qualified doctors and state-of- the-art equipment. The quality medical services are a lot cheaper than US and UK and the treatments are approved by World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration.
In October 2015, India’s medical tourism sector was estimated to be worth US$3 billion and according to a report by Grant Thornton, it is expected to grow to $8 billion by 2020. Also, GT reported that Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) account for 30% share of foreign medical tourist arrivals. People are seeking better and cheaper options for treatment which are either not available in their country or requires a long wait. Other major sources include Bangladesh, Africa and the Middle East.
India’s neighbours account for the maximum share of patients (34%), majorly due to the poor healthcare infrastructure.
Clearly, there are economic advantages for choosing this English-speaking country for certain procedures. Private hospitals offer treatment at around one-tenth of the price of those in more affluent nations. For example, a heart bypass procedure costs roughly $140,000 without any insurance in the US. The same procedure, however, costs only around $7,000 or Rs 3 lakh at one of India’s leading surgery centres.
Treatment Cost in India (USD) Cost abroad (USD)
Plastic/Cosmetic Surgery 2,000-3,600 8,000-10,000
LASIK 600-800 2,000-3,000
Knee/Hip replacement 4,000-6,000 20,000-40,000
Cardiac Surgery 1,500-2,500 60,000-1,00,000
Breast Implant 3,000-4,000 8,000-10,000
According to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the primary reason that attracts medical value travel to India is cost-effectiveness, and treatment from accredited facilities at par with developed countries. It has 28 JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals with doctors trained in western countries including US and UK.
Indian doctors are considered to be among the best in the world and their high level of surgical expertise evolves from many years of training and is the topmost overseas supplier of doctors to the UK.
“Indian doctors in the U.S. is almost a brand name now and senior doctors are in very powerful positions, be it politically or financially”, said Dr. Narendra Kumar for The Hindu.
The chain of Apollo Hospitals in India, Aditya Birla Health Services (Pune), Medanta and Moolchand Hospital (NCR) are some of the top JCI accredited hospitals of India.
Tourism opportunities, quality hotels and the visa-on-arrival system make Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and NCR region the top destinations for foreign visitors. Despite the diversity of languages, English is spoken by most people, reducing the barriers for medical tourists. Even if it persists, the availability of interpreters ensures a smooth communication with doctors and other professionals.
There’s nothing like Indian hospitality, and people can experience it with the wide range of 5-star hotels of the country. New Delhi, Chennai and Maharashtra get the maximum medical tourists as they have better and direct air connectivity.
Along with the medical treatment, tourists prefer to spend some time exploring the place and India being a vibrant and diverse country, is the best place to visit timeless traditions. The nation ranges from tropical beach paradises to teak forests and spiritual gardens.
Jaipur: The ‘pink city’ of Jaipur is the historical state of Rajasthan with various monuments and palaces to visit. The city’s colourful, chaotic streets ebb and flow with a heady brew of old and new. Careering buses dodge dawdling camels, leisurely cycle-rickshaws frustrate swarms of motorbikes, and everywhere buzzing autorickshaws watch for easy prey. In the midst of this mayhem, the splendours of Jaipur’s majestic past are islands of relative calm evoking a different pace and another world.
New Delhi: The vibrant and growing city, this capital of India offers you all the tastes of India. From the best healthcare facilities to the glitzy bars and malls, name it and it’s here. A symbol of the country’s rich past and thriving present, Delhi is a city where ancient and modern blend seamlessly together. It is a place that not only touches your pulse but even fastens it to a frenetic speed. Home to millions of dreams, the city takes on unprecedented responsibilities of realizing dreams bringing people closer and inspiring their thoughts.
Agra: Taj Mahal, being one of the greatest architectural gesture of love, this wonder of the world attracts tourists worldwide. And despite the hype, it’s every bit as good as you’ve heard. But the Taj is not a stand-alone attraction. The legacy of the Mughal empire has left a magnificent fort and a liberal sprinkling of fascinating tombs and mausoleums; and there’s also fun to be had in the bustling chowks (marketplaces).
Shimla: Heading to the mountains always gives peace. This city has now become a big tourist destination, one of India's most popular hill resorts, buzzing with a happy flow of Indian vacationers and full of relics of its previous life as the summer capital of British India. Traffic is banned from the central part of town, so walking is pleasant – even when huffing and puffing uphill. The long, winding main street, the Mall, runs east and west just below the spine of the hill. South of it, the maze-like alleys of the bustling bazaar cascade steeply down to traffic-infested Cart Rd.
Goa: This city is a destination choice for Indian and foreign tourists, particularly Britons and Russians. Water sports and beaches are a big attraction, all-night parties and laid-back tropical vibe's are a blissful surprise. While some things may have changed, the essence remains the same hanging around by the beach, cruising through impossibly green countryside on two wheels, and the evening ritual of watching the sun melt into the Arabian Sea with a cold beer and a plate of spicy prawns is what defines Goa.
Chennai: With its historical landmarks, long sandy beaches and cultural centres, this place offers many interesting location to visitors. This 400-sq-km conglomerate of urban villages and diverse neighbourhoods making up Tamil Nadu's capital will pleasantly surprise you. Its role is as keeper of South Indian artistic, religious and culinary traditions.
Mumbai: The mega-city driven by fame, wealth and glamour, Mumbai also offers locations for tourists to discover. The heart of the city contains some of the grandest colonial-era architecture on the planet but explore a little more and you’ll uncover unique bazaars, hidden temples, hipster enclaves and India’s premier restaurants and nightlife.
The Indian curry is famous worldwide. This predominantly vegetarian country known for its spices and herbs, has now broken the stereotypes with increasing influence of western culture and serving non-vegetarian food which is equally tasty.
Most of the metros across the country offer Continental foods, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Mediterranean etc. Treatment packages include natural, whole, macrobiotic and organic diets to speed up the recovery.