'India' a Hub for Medical Tourism

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ABSTRACT
Medical tourism has become a popular option for tourists across the world. It takes into account primarily the biomedical procedures, combined with travel and tourism. Medical tourism has been coined by different travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain cutting edge medical care. Countries like India, Malaysia, and Thailand are promoting medical tourism aggressively. The key competitive advantages of India in medical tourism stem from the following: Low cost advantage.

Strong reputation in the Advanced Healthcare Segment (Cardiovascular Surgery, Organ Transplants, Eye Surgery etc.) The diversity of tourist destinations available in the country. The key concerns facing the industry include:

Less Government Initiatives.
Lack of a coordinated effort to promote the industry.
No accreditation mechanism for hospitals and the lack of uniform pricing policies and standards across hospitals. Medical tourism or health care tourism is fast growing multibillion-dollar industry around the world. It is an economic activity that entails trade in services and represents the mixing of two of the largest world industries: Medicine and Tourism. The paper identifies the strengths of India’s medical tourism service providers and points at a number of problems that may reduce the growth opportunity of this industry. This paper focuses on the key issues and opportunities possessed by Indian medical tourism sector that enables it to overcome domestic and international barriers on upgrading its medical services. Finally, this paper analyses and concludes the main reasons why the developing country like India attracts foreign tourists for the medical treatment. Keywords: Medicine, Tourism, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Ayurvedic, Naturopathy.

INTRODUCTION
India has a bountiful of diverse tourism hotspots which enchant the recuperating visitors, their scenic beauty, historicity and socio-cultural significance would be great harbingers of health to the ailing foreign visitors. In the recent years, government support, low cost treatment, improved healthcare infrastructure, and rich cultural heritage, have taken the Indian medical tourism to new heights. India has emerged as one of the world’s most cost-efficient medical tourism destinations, and hence, attained a position among the global leaders. According to “Booming Medical Tourism in India”, the heart surgery centers in the country offer treatment at a significantly lesser prices compared to North America and Europe. Superior quality of dental care and Ayurvedic Spa treatments are also attracting patients from across the globe. Each market segment describes the cost effectiveness compared to other countries. Though India’s reputation is not good on hygiene front, its state-of-the-art medical facilities and value for money offered attracts thousands of patients each year. In this way, the country holds enormous potential for growth in medical tourism in future. Extensive research and analysis has also revealed that quality-driven wellness centers, cord blood banking, and medical tourism facilitates medical tourism market. It has been observed that wellness tourism, alternate meditation, and the advantage of being the least competitive pricing have been the Unique Selling Point (USP) of the Indian medical tourism. Cardiac and Orthopedic procedures constitute the majority share of the market. This study reflects an in-depth knowledge of various government initiatives that provides a positive impact on the medical tourism market in India. The adoption of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model by the Indian Government at both central and state levels to improve healthcare infrastructure in the country through expertise of private sector and better support of public sector provided the extra thrust to medical tourism. We also observed that the regulatory structure in connection to...
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