With the objective to bring all the players on a common platform, the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) of Commerce and Industry organised its first Medical Tourism Conclave at Vivanta by Taj President in Mumbai. Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, was the guest of honour for the Conclave. Around 200 delegates comprising officials from leading hospitals, doctors and medical practitioners, senior executives of pharmaceutical companies and senior government officials attended. The Conclave witnessed two panel discussions where important stakeholders from the medical tourism sector, healthcare industry, travel trade professionals, representatives from foreign regional registration offices (FRRO) and foreign diplomats shared their view points on the road map of Medical Tourism in India.
During her presentation, Singh spoke about opportunities for Medical Tourism in India in general and Maharashtra in particular. “2,50,000 people travelled to India last year for medical purposes and the revenue earned through this sector is expected to grow from USD 3 bn to USD 8 bn by 2020. Maharashtra ranks third in terms of Medical Tourism guests after Tamil Nadu and NCR region. With Maharashtra offering more than 1 lakh efficient doctors and over 1.5 lakh nurses to provide personal care, love and compassion, cost effective medical facilities as compared to nations like the USA and UK, latest medical equipment and the rejuvenation medical facilities like Ayurveda, Yoga, etc., the region is expected to attract medical tourists at large, provided private and public sector work efficiently to promote the cause.”
The Medical Tourism Conclave was headed by Deepak Premnarayen, President, IMC, Lalit Kanodia, Vice President, IMC and Farhat Jamal, Chairman, Travel Tourism and Hospitality Committee, IMC. The two panel discussions were moderated by Pravin Amin, Physician and Intensivist, Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Center and Sheldon Santwan, Editor & COO, TravelBiz Monitor, respectively.
The first panel discussion threw light on specialist’s perspective on Medical Tourism. Dr. S. Natarajan, CMD, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Pvt. Ltd., Dr. Darius Soonawala, Orthopaedic & Joint replacement surgeon, Jaslok Hospital, Dr. Vinay Jacob, Cosmetologist, Bombay Hospital, Dr. Parag Rindani, Associate VP & Head Wockhardt Hospital and Dr. Nikhil Parchure, Cardiologist, Apollo Hospital were panelists at the first discussion. Panellists discussed the various medical specialties offered in India like Cardiology, Orthopedic, Gastro & Liver, Oncology, Cosmetology, etc.
The second panel discussion focused on opportunities and challenges in Medical Tourism in which Dr. Rindani along with Rajiv Duggal, CEO, Lavasa Hospitality, Devendra Bharma, EVP – Oberoi Hotels, Mumbai, Essa Ahmad, VP – India & Nepal, Emirates, Dr. Hidayat Khan, Proprietor, Human Care Cardiac & Air Ambulance Services and Raj Bhojwani were panelists. Duggal pointed out that India is not a Medical Tourism destination, but a Medical Value Travel destination and this needs to be overcome through systematic and organised ways as it is one segment which will help in the growth of economy.
India is second to Thailand in terms of accredited healthcare facilities, providing quality health care, affordable and easily accessible, especially for the western world. India sees a large number of medical tourists from the USA, UK, Africa, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions. Improving technology and quality in the healthcare sector along with growing number of health care providers within India will ensure that the scope for growth within this sector is huge, were some of the points made at the session.