Liquor policy and demonetisation have battered the tourism sector in Kerala over a period of time. But one branch of the sector has been thriving – medical tourism. In fact, it has seen 20 per cent increase in the arrival of tourists seeking medical care in the state over the last three years, also swelling the revenue from this field.
Kerala Medical Value Travel Society president E M Najeeb said hospitals in the state have seen marked increase in the tourist flow since 2014. He said the private hospitals in the state hosted around nine lakh tourists in 2014 and around 11 lakh in 2015. The number went up to around 13 lakh in 2016. This is more than five per cent of the total number of tourists visited the state during the last three years.
Kerala Medical Value Society is the forum of 26 private hospitals functioning for the promotion of medical tourism in Kerala. The revenue generated from medical tourism stood at four billion in 2014 while it went up by 20 per cent in 2015 and 2016. Low treatment cost, advanced and reliable services and less waiting period for surgeries draw the tourists towards the hospitals in the state.
“Low treatment cost is one of the major reasons behind patients avail medical care in Kerala,” said Centre for Gerontological Studies emeri tus professor Jacob John Kattakkayam. Najeeb said tourists from developed countries can save up to 60 per cent of the surgery cost i n Kerala. Apart from medical services, hospitals offer relaxation and entertainment to the visitors.