India currently ranks 5th on the Medical Tourism Index globally and 2nd in Asia as per the International Healthcare and Research Centre statistics. This portrays a potential opportunity for India in becoming a future leader in medical tourism given the fact that it focuses on building infrastructure, technology & services, and a seamless experience for buyers. The increase in competition globally calls for a strong branding mechanism in place, highlighted Jonathan Edelheit, CEO, Medical Tourism Association, USA while speaking to TravelBiz Monitor at the World Medical Tourism Congress held from March 7-8, 2017 at Crowne Plaza, Greater Noida.
“Though the Indian government is taking steps in building India as a preferred medical tourism destination, it can also play a vital role in implementing accreditation by creating standards and streamline processes so that it is a delightful experience from the moment the buyer steps in India till he leaves,” he said.
He goes on to add that India is pretty advanced on the medical tourism front. Today more of insurance companies and employers are adopting medical tourism and institutionalising the sector which paves way for future growth. However, its global perception has dropped a bit in the last few years with the safety concerns doing the rounds. Here, the public and the private sector need to go hand in hand and reach out to the global markets and connect with a strong branding in place, added Edelheit.
The major inbound source markets for India for medical tourism include Africa and the Middle East. The secondary markets comprise the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc. Edelheit asserted that India can also explore the new market of the United States of America (USA) along with a deeper and stronger penetration in Middle East and Africa.