India’s US$3 billion medical tourism sector at risk

 

Medical tourism, including patients travelling to India for both treatment in modern medicine and traditional AYUSH, is estimated to be a US$3 billion market for India, according to the Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion.

The New Delhi-based organisation seeks to bring India’s healthcare closer to the rest of the world and smooth the world’s access to Indian healthcare. Founded in 2018, it has two main member categories, hospital and AYUSH providers. It works with chambers of commerce in Nepal and Myanmar, and with medical tourism associations in China, Iran and Ukraine.

Dalip Chopra of the Foundation of Healthcare and Promotion warned: “For many of the medical tourism players who have brought India to the top of the world medical tourism map, they stare at a dark future”.

The organisation warns that the medical tourism industry urgently needs immediate financial stimulus and support. In absence of this, the industry may not survive, resulting in immense foreseen and unforeseen foreign exchange losses, losses of widespread jobs and losses of a multi-billion dollar inflow in the near future.

The answer is for the industry and the FICCI to work with the government to support the medical tourism industry. The government must reduce restrictions on international patients coming to India as soon as possible, with adequate measures to ensure such patients don’t spread COVID-19.

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