The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Incredible India – did you know???

Incredible India

The Taj Mahal, ornate temples, sun-drenched beaches, Mughal architecture, cows on the streets, elephants, snake charmers, yoga, BPOs, groaning democracy, crowded streets, slums, poverty. These are some of the perceptions that foreigners have about India.

Which is fair enough, since some of this is a reality.

Things have changed, though, and it appears that a large number of overseas tourists visit for a different purpose, something that most Indians are yet not aware of.

It appears that a shade under half a million tourists visited India last year for medical treatment, or medical tourism as this is referred to. This is approximately 10% of total tourist arrivals in the country.

This might appear strange, but is a fact.

It is estimated that India might generate revenue of as much as US$ 2 billion by the year 2012 from medical tourism alone.

Why do people travel overseas for medical care? One reason is financial, for treatment in a country such as India might cost less than half that in their own countries. Another is the long waiting times for medical treatment or procedures. It could also be an opportunity to combine elective surgery with a vacation in a tropical environment. Not to forget tourists that come from countries that lack sophisticated medical facilities.

And, India has the facilities.

There are many hospital chains such as Apollo, Artemis, Fortis and Wockhardt that offer world-class facilities at a fraction of what it costs in the West. I was quite startled to see the cost differential. A heart surgery that would cost US$ 30,000 in the U.S. would cost US$ 10,000 in India. A simple root canal procedure that might cost US$ 2,000 in the U.S. would cost under US$ 200 in India.

And, of course, there is the wellness tourism aspect that includes spa, yoga and Ayurvedic programs that attract foreigners who are keen to seek physical and mental healing. Names such as Nilayoram and Kumarakom Lake Resort come to mind.

I was not aware of one fact – that there is now a new visa category called “M” that applies for foreigners desirous of traveling to India for medical treatment.

The new slogan being used for promoting the country is “Incredible India”.

I guess they have a point.

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August 18, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that | , , , ,

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