India’s Medical Tourism Growth and Aspirations

The Rise of Medical Tourism in India

Government officials are preparing elaborate plans to globally market medical tourism in India in order to boost the local economy. Current campaign plans include marketing “Brand India” at the International Tourism Conference in Berlin, 2007. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), “India has the potential to attract 1 million tourists per annum, which could contribute up to US $5 billion to the economy.”

Health Vacations for Bone Marrow Transplantation

Health vacations are becoming exceedingly more appealing as health care costs continue to rise in the West. In addition, India can offer medical packages to those who are subject to long waits in countries with socialized medicine. With so many unknown beach resorts in the stunning state of Kerala, the marketing of medical packages in India is becoming a priority. As a health destination, India is attracting patients seeking expensive surgeries such as bone marrow transplantation. At a fraction of the cost in the West ($250,000), a patient can receive bone marrow transplantation procedures for under $30,000 if they choose a health vacation in India. This represents a radical departure from traditional medical tourism in which patients typically sought elective surgeries like face-lifts and tooth whitening.

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Indian Medical Packages and Medical Tourism

Although there is a quality of care concern in the industry, “It is…essential to establish the Indian healthcare brand synonymous with safety, trust and excellence,” said the CII. Besides invasive surgeries like bone marrow transplantation procedures, heart valve replacements, and hip replacement surgeries, India also is offering the ancient knowledge of health as a holistic art; health that encompasses the entire body and soul of a person. The marketing efforts include promoting yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda healing in order to offer patients a comprehensive health destination that supersedes the competition. “India offers a unique basket of services to an individual that is difficult to match by other countries,” says CII. According to a CII-McKinsey study, “medical tourism can contribute Rs 5,000-10,000 crore additional revenue for up-market tertiary hospitals by 2012.”

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