From $3 billion in 2014 to $8 billion in 2020. Is India on way to becoming global medical tourism hub?

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India may not be considered an ideal destination by the international tourists anymore owing to the number of incidents of rapes and molestation reported in the recent times, but that hasn’t stopped the nation from making notable advances when it comes to being one of the most sought after pro-health destinations in the world.

The past couple of years has witnessed a shift in the global trends wherein people are increasingly turning to India instead of the United States and Europe, regions that once used to premier destinations for health tourism, to seek cost-effective and quality health care. Low cost of treatment coupled with ease of travel and removal of lingual barriers has further helped this movement to gain momentum.

According to the statistics by the Press Information Bureau, the number of foreign tourists arriving in India on Medical Visa has nearly tripled in past four years. From 75,688 in 2014, the number of tourists arriving in India on Medical Visa has gone up to 2,01,333 in 2016. The government too has eased the norms for the foreign tourists by extending e-visa facility to citizens of nearly 150 nations and visa-on-arrival facility to citizens from over 10 nations. Furthermore, the government has also allowed an extension of up to 6 months for people with medical visa, placing India in the league of major medical tourist destinations in Asia alongside Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

The revenue generated by the medical tourism industry is expected to increase more than fifty percent by 2020. While medical tourism industry generated a revenue of USD 3 billion in 2014, it is expected to increase almost three folds to USD 8 billion in 2020.

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In terms of the location wise breakup, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi-NCR remain the prime destinations for the international tourists seeking medical aid. From naturopathy to cardiac surgery and hip resurfacing, India not only remains a prime destination for treatment of various ailments but also the focal point of the international studies in the field.

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India hosts medical tourists from over 60 nations including United States, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh among others. With private hospital chains like Apollo, Fortis, Max, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Manipal Hospitals bringing the global standards to our doorsteps and the government promoting AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) as its global agenda, India is on the highway to becoming the hub of medical tourism in the world.

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