Hotel costs could impact India’s medical tourism flow

 

Falls in medical tourist numbers to India from 2016 to 2017 include:

  • Afghanistan fell from 61,231 in 2016 to 55,681 in 2017
  • Uzbekistan fell from 9,564 in 2016 to 8,309 in 2017
  • Kenya fell from 8,701 in 2016 to 7,496 in 2017
  • Nigeria fell from 9,277 in 2016 to 5,530 in 2017
  • Pakistan fell from 3,955 in 2016 to 1,785 in 2017

The Indian tourism ministry suggests that the reason is that people from poorer countries are most hit by the rise in hotel prices. The increased goods and services tax on luxury hotels in India, rose from 18% to 28%. Even Airbnb prices have risen.

India continues to receive a steady flow of medical tourists from Bangladesh due to its proximity to West Bengal.

Indian hospitals argue that although improvements have been made to speed up medical visa processing, increased security processes, lengthening queues to get medical tourist visas, and the antiquated system of requiring some medical tourists to physically visit embassies, puts off potential medical tourists.

The government is supporting the efforts to promote medical tourism by extending the visa on arrival status scheme to 150 countries.

Pressure on healthcare systems is also increasing, including at private hospitals, as growing affluence has led to a steady rise in domestic demand for good quality healthcare.

For in-depth analysis of the medical tourism sector in India, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.

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