Kerala: A Major Player in Medical Value Travel

Medical Value Travel-Kerala Style

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has declared 2006-2007 Medical Tourism Year in Kerala, one of India’s most attractive states. India is being promoted for its cheap health care, and Indian medical tourism packages in Kerala are especially desirable because of the infamous “backwaters.” Visitors can enjoy the luscious greenery of the Kerala palms, while cruising down the backwaters in a private house boat after they receive cheap (but quality) health care at the state-of-the-art AIMS Hospital in Kochi.

Cheap Health Care in India

Although the hospital does not offer rooms specifically for health tourism, short term care facilities can be obtained at any one of the westernized beach resorts along the coast of Kerala, such as those found in Varkala, Kovalam, or nearby Mararikulam. Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams says, “Kerala should be able to capture about 20 per cent of the medical tourism business coming to India.” With the immense growth and projected revenue stream of up to 2.3 billion USD by the year 2012, Indian medical tourism packages and health tourism, short term care facilities included, are going to be constructed on a large scale.

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Indian Medical Tourism Packages

In July alone, private investors earmarked over $213 million for market tourism in Kerala. The explosion of Indian medical tourism packages and the proliferation of health tourism facilities are being closely monitored. The goal of government officials is to provide more opportunities for cheap health care using these monies, as well as expanding development to include farm and home stay tourism.

Dr. Philip Augustine, Chairman Kerala Health Tourism, says that “health tourism has become the major source of income after information technology in India, especially in Kerala.” Tourism Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan adds that “the last fiscal [year] saw Kerala’s tourism revenue touch an all-time high of Rs.93 billion,” and it’s only expected to escalate.

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