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India’s Lucrative Medical Tourism Business

Quality healthcare at low cost is a win-win for all


India has always been one of the world’s most exotic travel destinations. When you visit India, you will find endless cultural attractions, a vibrant and bustling atmosphere, and an experience around every corner. To add, this lively South Asian country has also evolved into a popular medical tourism destination.

With full government support to improve medical infrastructure and technology and a seemingly endless number of internationally accredited facilities and doctors available, it’s no wonder that the medical tourism industry in India is growing at a rate of 25% per annum.

Did you know?

The Ministry of Tourism estimates that medical tourism in India could grow by 200% by 2020 and reach a total value of $9 billion. This is no surprise, as already, patients from around the world visit India for medical treatment. Popular countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

What is behind India’s rise as a popular medical tourism destination?

India has managed to overcome many barriers and is making huge strides in the Medical Tourism industry because of the following reasons:

  • Government support

Not only does the Government support the developing medical infrastructure and investments in technology, but it also assists the industry by issuing special Medical Tourist E-visas. These Visas can be obtained at short notice and can easily be applied for through a dedicated Medical Tourism Website.

  • Accredited facilities

India has developed and maintained a strong and robust accreditation system that features an average of 275 medical facilities. These facilities are of the highest standards and can be compared with top international health institutions. A further 33 JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals and clinics can also be found in India.

  • Qualified medical professionals

India boasts the largest pool of skilled medical professionals in South Asia. Many of these accredited professionals have studied internationally and with such diverse experience, India is full of innovation and open to adopting new techniques and cutting-edge technology.

  • Short waiting times

Many developed nations are challenged with burdened public health systems and long wait lists for specialised surgery. This is usually one of the drivers that draws patients to foreign countries such as India, where the private healthcare market can accommodate patients at short notice. 

  • Low cost treatments

India’s medical costs are more affordable when compared to many Western countries (almost 80-90% cheaper in some cases). When compared to Western Countries, for specialised treatments like for leukaemia, the cost could be a staggering 20 times less! This, combined with the high standards of the care facilities, makes the region’s market very unique.

  • Easy care and recuperation

English is one of the official languages in India. This makes it easier for foreign patients to communicate with their caregivers. Many hospitals have also invested in translators for visitors from non-English speaking countries.  As a warm and hospitable nation, medical staff have been trained to make touring patients feel welcome and at home.

Finding healthcare providers in India

There are a number of successful hospital groups operating in India, such as the Apollo Hospital Group, Fortis Healthcare and Max Healthcare to name a few. It is also worth noting that India has a booming private sector, so there are countless fantastic physicians employed in specialist clinics. Taking eye care an example, you can find the Shroff Eye Centre in Delhi that serves over 100,000 patients per year.

Whilst medical tourism in India has been promoted as the best “win-win” option for patients from a cost and quality perspective, it has also been criticised for leaving the national poverty-stricken population behind. A counter-argument, however, raises the point that by improving the quality of health care in the country in general, the economy will strengthen and the medical tourist dollars will benefit the people far beyond the medical walls.

There is so much choice in India, which makes it ever more important conduct thorough online research related to the particular specialty that you are interested in. As an end note, please always remember to check the credentials of your facility and care provider.

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