India is gaining a larger share of the world medical tourism market and growth in this industry will drive the associated industries such as the pharmaceuticals
Despite the global economic downturn, medical tourism in India has emerged as the fastest growing segment of tourism industry. High cost of treatments in the developed countries, particularly in the US and the UK, and scarcity of quality medical treatment in African and other SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries has been a driving force for patients from such regions to look for alternative and cost-effective destinations. Although the Indian medical tourism industry is presently at a nascent stage, it holds out enormous potential for future growth and development.
It has been estimated that India’s share in the global medical tourism industry will reach around three per cent by the end of 2013. Moreover, medical tourism is expected to generate revenue worth $3 billion by 2013, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 26 per cent between 2011 and 2013. The number of offshore medical tourists is anticipated to grow at approximately 19 per cent during the forecast period to reach 1.3 million by 2013.
India represents the largest potential medical tourism market in the world. Factors such as low cost, scale and range of treatments along with the expertise provided differentiate it from other medical tourism destinations. It also acts as a vacation spot for many to recover after their treatment.
Growth in this market would be a boon for several associated industries, such as hospitals, medical equipment makers and the pharmaceutical industry. It is considered to be a sunshine sector considering that it is the only industry in India that was unaffected by the worldwide recession. Its growth has in turn helped to improve the healthcare and infrastructural facilities in India. India has some of the best hospitals and medical institutes in the world. This could be attributed to medical expertise, high-end technology and equipment which is of a high standard and superior quality, while still being cost effective.
This has prompted many offshore tourists to come to India for various treatments. Also, India is a popular tourist destination along with the world class medical facilities, and so medical tourism in India has become popular. The medical tourism market is around Rs 1,450 crore. But it is most likely to escalate now. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and McKinsey study, the market will be valued at Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 crore by 2012; so its growth potential is tremendous.
Indian hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are investing heavily in infrastructure and the arrangement of the required facilities for attracting foreign tourists. Special packages are also made available to those who come to India as medical tourists. These packages may include visa assistance, airport pick up, lodging and medical assistance to name a few. With India turning into a medical hospice, its sunshine industry is ready to spark the world.
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