India plans to lure medical tourists with incentives


New Delhi: In a bid to increase the number of medical tourists, India plans to improve medical facilities for tourists which include hospitals accreditation, medical visa approval, wellness of institutes and setting up fixed charges for services.

“We will be addressing the problems faced by the people (coming to India for medical and wellness purposes). We are going to propose hassle-free visa facility to the medical tourists. We have plans to engage with the tour and travel operators and ensure that a transparent system of medical facilities is provided,” Mahesh Sharma, Union tourism minister said on Wednesday.

Dr Naresh Trehan, Mendata CMD and board member said, the board will be focusing on creating an “even experience” for tourists.

“We will be taking this (medical and wellness tourism) in a mission mode. That is why we have formed a board with a seed capital of Rs 2 crore. Healthcare industry is growing at a rate of 25% in the last three years and if you use this potential in an organised manner, we will achieve a lot,” the Minister who is also board chairman said.

Sub-Committees have been made by the ministry to handle accreditation, market issues and regularity. The board of 25 members includes experts like Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Trehan, Industry bodies and Quality Council of India like FICCI, CII and PHDCCI, Subhash Goyal President of IATO, Baba Ramdev yoga guru, Acharya Balakrishnan, accreditation agencies like NABHHS.

The ministry plans to set up a web portal which will be designed highlighting facts related to services and facilities offered by health and yoga centres, hospitals, spas and costs for the wellness of institutes.”The sub-committee will grade institutions and offer information on costs…we would like to offer accredited facilities to foreign travelers so they have an even experience,” Trehan said.

A data bank will be prepared by the board containing information about available resources and wellness services in the country and to develop a mechanism to spread related facts to source markets. The ministry mentioned medical tourists will also be given welcome kits with phone charge facilities.

India’s medical tourism facility includes Saarc countries, Middle-East, CIS, Africa, US, Europe and some South East Asian countries.(Inputs from agencies)(Picture