India grows as hub for medical tourism, foreign visitors increase 111% in 3 years
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the growth of medical tourism in India is optimistic. The segment has witnessed exponential growth of 111 per cent in the last three years from 2015 to 2017.
The Ministry stated that some 4.95 lakh foreign tourists visited India for medical purposes in 2017, a rise from 2.33 lakh in 2015, while in 2016, a total of 4.27 lakh foreign tourists visited the sub-continent.
To boost the sector in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has also taken various steps like 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.
The government has formulated guidelines for medical tourism stakeholders in the country. Additionally, under the Incredible India campaign, the ministry launched multiple campaigns for the international markets. The ministry has also conducted road shows and ‘Know India Seminars’ to spread awareness. Brochures, CDs, films and other publicity materials were also used by the ministry along with its social media promotions across multiple platforms. The Department of Commerce and Services Export Promotion Council has also launched a healthcare portal that provides comprehensive information to foreign travellers about the top healthcare institutions in the country in various languages.
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.