Medical tourism in India: In 2015, the number of Foreign Tourist arrivals for medical purpose in India were 2,33,918, in 2016, the figures went up to 4,27,014, in 2017, the numbers were 4,95,056, as per information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Medical tourism sector in India is showing a sedate recovery amid the Coronavirus pandemic after it was hit by the Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown. However, with India gradually opening up its skies through air bubbles agreement with select countries, private hospitals in the country have restarted admitting emergency cases from abroad.
India witnessed a footfall of 6.97 lakh foreign patients on a medical visa in 2019. This accounts for 6.9 per cent of total foreign tourist arrivals, Indian Express reported quoting the Ministry of Tourism. In 2015, the number of Foreign Tourist arrivals for medical purpose in India were 2,33,918, in 2016, the figures went up to 4,27,014, in 2017, the numbers were 4,95,056, as per information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
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In September, healthcare major Apollo Hospitals Enterprise said the medical tourism sector in the country needs support from the government to get back on its feet after being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The medical tourism sector came to a standstill due to the lockdown. This has impacted not just India but Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian countries also which have a thriving medical tourism sector,” Apollo Hospitals Group Joint MD Sangita Reddy told PTI.
Though the details of foreign tourist arrivals in India for 2020 are yet to be disclosed, it can be gauged that the Covid-19 pandemic in all likelihood hit the numbers. However, patients from abroad countries have slowly started to visit India for treatment purposes, as per the IE report.
The Central government has time to time emphasized on medical tourism. Realizing the potential to develop and promote Wellness and Medical Tourism as a niche product in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has formulated guidelines for the promotion of Medical Tourism. As per the guidelines following assistance is provided to eligible stakeholders, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel had informed Rajya Sabha.