Medical tourism is the travel of people to another country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in that country. Traditionally, people would travel from less developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that was unavailable in their own communities. The recent trend is for people to travel from developed countries to third world countries for medical treatments because of cost consideration, though the traditional pattern still continues.
The medical tourism industry in India gets maximum patients for heart surgery, knee transplant, cosmetic surgery and dental care as the cost of treatment in India is considered to be the lowest in Asia, much lower than Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
According to a joint report by consultancy firm KPMG and industry body FICCI a person coming to India for his/her medical treatment can have savings anywhere in the range of 30 to 70 per cent. “Even if we consider the ticket expenses and accommodation expenses along with the treatment cost, the overall expenditure would be lower than the treatment cost in the UK or the US or many other countries. The inflow of medical tourists is expected to cross 320 million by 2015 compared with 85 million in 2012,” the report stated.
Amit Mookim, partner and head of healthcare practices, KPMG India had pointed out that India has a fragmented approach where individual hospitals have been promoting themselves as the hospital destinations. The medical-value-travel stakeholders in India need to consolidate their efforts and strategies on how to leverage the available opportunities.