Medical tourism needs an influx of cash to accelerate growth

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Rajeev Taneja, Founder and CEO of Global Care, talks about the government’s medical value travel initiatives and the opportunities they provide

India has always been known as the land of rich and ancient wellness knowledge. With Yoga, Ayush and spirituality, India has for centuries drawn the world to her as an answer to healing.

After the health and tourism crisis during the pandemic, the world is finally opening up. This has given medical value travel the impetus it needs to grow and rebound. To increase the same, the government is actively working to position India as the most favorable destination for medical treatment.

Initiatives such as Heal in India, led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with other ministries, Tourism, Ayush, Civil Aviation, major Indian hospitals, facilitators of Healthcare and other stakeholders are all poised to accelerate this growth. The Heal in India web portal aims to draft a plan to connect foreign patients with hospitals and healthcare facilitators in India. In a nutshell, it is India’s proposition to the world to create easy access and approach health as a holistic concept. From the latest medical care to traditional treatments and wellness, the country has expertise for a healthy vision of health.

Facilities like the Ayush visa will further help patients from all over the world to access traditional treatments in India. Given the exponential growth and interest in Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Unani, Homeopathic Medicine, Wellness, etc., the Ayush sector is now valued at over USD 18 million. The Ayush visa will facilitate the further growth of this sector, thereby increasing the medical value of travel.

The various government initiatives will have the following main benefits:

Exchange: One of the biggest sources of currency exchange for India, medical value travel contributes massively to the country’s economy.

Diplomatic Benefits: One of the major reasons why India benefits from globalization is medical value travel. India’s health diplomacy being a healer for the world, the government will have a very positive relationship with many countries in the world.

Tertiary sectors: The inbound traffic of patients from medical tourism also favors other sectors such as tourism and hospitality. It also contributes to large-scale job creation in various service sectors.

Job generation: The growth of medical value travel is also contributing to large-scale job creation in our country.

The government is also investing in infrastructure development in about 17 cities like Jaipur, Pune and Ahmedabad which are promising and can be strategically positioned as excellent destinations for medical value travel in addition to metropolises like Delhi, Mumbai et al. The road ahead, however, is paved with challenges –

Substantial investment: Medicine and diagnostics as an industry are constantly evolving. To keep up with global advancements and continue to bring these cutting-edge treatments, therapies and techniques to the country, the medical tourism industry must stay ahead of the curve. Investments are needed not only to build infrastructure that meets international standards, but also to address the lack of adequately trained medical fraternity. From infrastructure and equipment to trained personnel, boosting medical tourism requires an influx of cash to accelerate growth.

Qualified staff : Travel with medical value requires not only the best medical and paramedical experts, but also well-trained and superlative support staff to provide all non-medical/logistical services required by a patient.

Standardization: Currently, different hospitals have different service and monetary packages for similar treatments, so having some standardization or framework will bring harmony to the process. Unanimity and a defined framework for the industry will ensure that treatments remain cost-effective and the process is transparent, building trust with patients.

With the government’s comprehensive strategies to develop the sector, medical value travel in India will open up a plethora of opportunities.

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