PROMOTING HEALTHCARE TOURISM IN INDIA
By A.Arputha Selvaraj – APMP IIM Calcutta
Medical tourism can be broadly defined as provision of 'cost
effective' private medical care in collaboration with the tourism
industry for patients needing surgical and other forms of
specialized treatment. This process is being facilitated by the
corporate sector involved in medical care as well as the tourism
industry - both private and public.
Medical tourists are generally residents of the industrialized nations of the world
and primarily come from
The United States
But more and more, people from many other countries of the world are seeking
out places where they can combine vacationing and obtaining their medical
care at an affordable cost.
The medical tourism in India has been increasing every year for the spectrum of
treatments that are being offered in most major hospitals which are:-
Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery
India offers World Class Medical Facilities, comparable with any of the western
countries. India has state of the art Hospitals and the best qualified doctors.
With the best infrastructure, the best possible Medical facilities, accompanied
with the most competitive prices, you can get the treatment done in India at
the lowest charges.
India is in the process of becoming the “Global Health
The cost of medical services in India is almost 30% lower to that in Western
countries and the cheapest in South-east Asia.
Indian hospitals excel in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, joint
replacements, transplants, cosmetic treatments, dental care, orthopedic
Offshore medical procedures are conducted for as much as one-
tenth the cost of a comparable treatment in developed countries
due to the economic disparity.
A bone-marrow transplant which would cost you around $250,000
in the US and £150,000 in UK will cost you a mere $26,000 in
India. A patient can successfully get a gastric bypass surgery in
India by paying just $9,500 as against a $65,000 price tag for the
same in the US. It is also a good idea to avail a medical tourism
package which would include airfare, accommodation charges and
a visit to some of the holiday destinations in the country.
Classification of the services spectrum of
medical tourism across globe
The Current Scenario
Medical Tourism is poised to be the next Indian success story after
According to a CII study the Industry’s earning potential
estimated at Rs.5000-10000 Crore by 2012.
Medical tourism can contribute Rs 5,000- 10,000 Crore additional
revenue for up- market tertiary hospitals by 2012and will account
for 3-5% of the total healthcare delivery market.
The major service providers in Indian medical tourism :
The Apollo Hospital, Escorts Hospital, Fortis Hospitals, Breach
Candy, Hinduja, Mumbai’s Asian Heart Institute, Arvind Eye
Hospital, Manipal Hospitals, Mallya Hospital, AIIMS.
In terms of location- Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai cater
to the maximum number of the health tourists and are fast
emerging as medical tourism hubs.
Nowadays medical tourism in India includes advanced and life
savings health care services like open transpalnts, cardio vascular
Eye treatment, knee/ hip different cosmetic surgeries and
alternate systems of medicine.
The commitment to provide comprehensive healthcare to all
citizens, irrespective of their paying capacity, was given up by the
Indian government after 30 years of the Indian independence.
After the globalization and liberalization of Indian economy on
1991, the government of India has opened up medical service to
the voluntary and private sectors for foreign tourists and other
citizen who can pay to get the high tech medical services.
The rapid growth of the private sector over the 1980s and the
emergence of a corporate health sector in the 1980s was a part of
the comprehensive policy that choose to promote these segments.
As a part of medical tourism, India is recognized as the cradle for
the test tube babies and is popular for surrogacy services .
Over than these, India offer high tech cardiac, paediatric, dental,
cosmetic and orthopaedic surgical services as well as the
traditional healing systems.
One estimate by Pricewaterhouse Coopers projects that the Indian
healthcare sector should be worth about $40 billion by 2012.
In 2008 the size of the industry was around Rs. 1,500 crores.
India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual
growth rate of 30 percent, making it a Rs. 9,500 crore industry by
Estimates of the value of medical tourism to India go as high as
$2 billion a year by 2012.
Cost comparison between India, USA,
Thailand and Singapore
Developing Strategies on Indian Medical
The Developing strategies on indian medical tourism is based on
the 7 ps of marketing mix:
India is emerging as an attractive, affordable for healthcare & BUT
there are some challenges that the country has to overcome to
become a tourist destination with competent health care industry.
The government should step in the role of a regulator and a
facilitator of private investment in healthcare. An apex body for the
industry needs to be formed to promote the India brand abroad and
aid inter- sectoral coordination. Joint ventures with overseas
partners and establishment of MEDICITIES will help in India building
a significant advantage and leadership position in the industry.
CII- Mckinsey (2002): “Health care in India : The Road Ahead”,
CII, Mckinsey and company and Healthcare federation, New Delhi.
Cohen, E.(2010). Medical Tourism, A critical evaluation Tourism
Recreation Research, 35(3), 225-238
International journal of Multidisciplinary Research Vol.1 Issue 3,
july 2011, ISSN 2231 5780