Medical tourism in India: India is looking to promote medical tourism in the country and therefore, the Union Ministry of Tourism has constituted a National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board which would be chaired by the tourism minister. Moreover, the ministry has also formed a draft national strategy so that India can be promoted as a medical and health tourism destination. Accordingly, the government has introduced medical visas along with e-medical visa for 166 countries, and as part of the policy, Yoga and Ayurveda tourism would also be promoted along with any alternative form of medicine under Indian system of medicine that is covered under AYUSH. The ministry, in a statement, said that the board would act as an umbrella body for promoting this type of tourism in an organised manner.
A draft ‘National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism’ has been formulated by the ministry and it has also sought suggestions and feedback from some Central Ministries, all of the governments and administrations of states and UTs as well as industry stakeholders so that document is more comprehensive.
Apart from this, the ministry has produced brochures, CDs, and other material for publicity of medical tourism and has also started distributing them widely in the intended markets. Moreover, international platforms like World Travel Mart, London, Arabian Travel Mart, and ITB Berlin have also been used to specifically promote this type of tourism in India.
Medical tourism is a type of tourism undertaken to get medical treatment for ailments, and usually, people try to go to certain countries which have expertise in particular ailments. For this, though, the country should have high-level infrastructure for the treatment, along with experts, and India has been working on developing a robust health sector for some time.
However, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic overburdened the healthcare system and laid bare the cracks that need to be filled, and so, in order to successfully promote health and medical tourism, the country would need to ensure that these gaps are also filled, as far as the modern medicine is concerned. On the other hand, the age old alternative medical sciences in India are also a form of medicine that is gaining popularity among people of other countries, especially since yoga and its benefits became popularised, and that is likely to lend credibility to the AYUSH sciences that India has been fostering for centuries.