Medical tourism in India has seen an exponential growth of 111 per cent in the last three years from 2015 to 2017. According to information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 4.95 lakh foreign tourists visited India for medical purposes in 2017, a significant uptick from 2.33 lakh in 2015. In 2016, a total of 4.27 lakh foreign tourists visited India for medical purposes.
Seizing the opportunity, the Ministry of Tourism has also taken various steps to boost medical tourism in the country, including expanding the scope of e-visas for medical visits. The government launched e-tourist visas in 2014 to ease the visa regime in the country, following which Medical and Medical Attendant Visa was introduced for medical tourists.
Additionally, under the Incredible India campaign, the ministry launched multiple campaigns for the international markets. Additionally, road shows and 'Know India Seminars' were also conducted to spread awareness.
Moreover, brochures, CDs, films and other publicity materials were used by the ministry along with its social media promotions across multiple platforms. The Department of Commerce and Services Export Promotion Council also launched a healthcare portal that provides comprehensive information to foreign travellers about the top healthcare institutions in the country in various languages.
Not only visitors, the government has formulated guidelines for medical tourism stakeholders in the country. In the statement, the tourism ministry said that was developing and promoting Wellness and Medical Tourism as a niche product.
The ministry said that it is offering 50:50 financial assistance to parties to up to Rs 10 lakh for participating in fairs and events approved by the tourism ministry in overseas markets under the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) scheme. The ministry also offers financial assistance of up to Rs 25 lakh for stakeholders participating in tourism promotion shows. It additionally also offers financial support for training courses on skill providing, skill upgradation and skill certification for individuals engaged in Wellness and Medical Tourism.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)