India looks to Commonwealth countries for medical and health tourism

 

It is easy to forget that India is more than just a country offering cut-price surgery. The size and breadth of the medical and health tourism market is staggering. Spa and traditional medicine are at least as important as modern medicine.

The popularity of the Indian spa industry is increasing every year, making the country one of the most popular spa destinations across the world. The Indian spa industry, with over 2300 spas, generates revenues around US$ 400 Million annually. India has 20-25 major spa centres, mostly in the Southern states such as Kerala and Karnataka. Hotel chains are undertaking major renovations to update their spas in order to meet the needs of Western tourists. These include vichy showers, lockers, hydrotherapy tubs and steam, sauna and multipurpose rooms for massage and facials.

In India, there are 380,000 registered medical practitioners of the ayurvedic system as compared to about 700,000 modern medical systems. Ayurvedic and medical tourism industries will be beneficiaries of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Major hospital chains and ayurvedic/spa centres are gearing up to attract large number of visitors.

A paper by ASSOCHAM on the opportunity for ayurvedic and medical tourism during the Commonwealth Games, predicts opportunities from tourists from UK, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. 200 ayurveda, spa and herbal centres will provide services to tourists and athletes during the games.

In September, ICRI-Health of Delhi held a workshop on medical tourism in India .The aim was to understand the healthcare set up in India from the perspective of international patients. Also covered was the role of medical tourism agencies and how to evolve a link between them and hospitals. ICRI Health is offering a two-year full time MBA in healthcare management with the option of specialization in medical tourism in the final year.

India: Medical Tourism Destination 2009, the first ever trade show in Canada by leading Indian hospitals, wellness and medical tourism players, is to be held in Toronto, from November 20th to 22nd 2009 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The conference is supported by The Indian Medical Travel Association (IMTA), the Embassy of India in Canada, Ministry of Tourism and medical tourism agency Surgical Tourism Canada. Canada is seen as a good market for promoting medical tourism to India as the healthcare delivery system is under strain and waiting lists are growing. There is also a large population of Indian origin in Canada

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