Bengaluru: Advantage Healthcare India 2017, the third global summit on medical value travel, jointly organized by FICCI; Dept. of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC), began on Thursday.
The three-day event is meant to promote India as a premier global healthcare destination and enable streamlined exports of healthcare services.
Over 70 countries and 700 hosted buyers from across the world are participating, along with thousands of business visitors from India and abroad. A FICCI - QuintilesIMS knowledge paper on ‘Medical Tourism in India’ was released during the event, highlighting the progress made to ensure the accelerated growth of MVT in the country and the way forward.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, along with SEPC on Thursday launched a healthcare portal www.indiahealthcaretourism.com in three languages – Arabic, Russian and French, which provides comprehensive information to medical travelers.
Welcoming the delegates, Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, Biotechnology & Tourism, Govt. of Karnataka, said India is a key medical value travel destination in Asia, with more than 500,000 foreign patients seeking treatment.
“It can be a 9-billion opportunity by 2020. Karnataka holds immense potential in wellness and medical tourism. Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore have some of the best hospitals in Asia, while Udipi, Gokarna, Mysore and Bijapur have developed as wellness destinations,’’ Gupta said.
He said the state boasts of direct connectivity with world capitals, eastern healthcare wisdom and expertise in western medicine. “There are 19 NABH accredited hospitals in Bengaluru alone. Karnataka is home to 56 medical colleges and offers the highest number of MBBS seats in India. Considering this, we are shortly going to come out with a medical and wellness tourism policy for Karnataka. It proposes to set up a marketing fund for promoting the state as a MVT destination and give financial assistance to entrepreneurs for wellness tourism,’’ he said.
In her Inaugural Address, Rita Teaotia, Secretary, Dept of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said medical value travel is a win-win for patients and providers – it creates jobs and encourages interchange of cultures across borders while fulfilling healthcare needs of people. “As the focus on medical tourism shifts to Asia, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets. The size of the Indian medical value travel industry is currently USD 3 billion, but the scale of the entire Indian healthcare industry is USD 110 billion. This is a huge base which can support quality and affordability of our medical tourism proposition,’’ Teaotia said.
Speaking on the occasion, Satyajeet Rajan, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, said that some interventions by the Ministry of Tourism to facilitate medical
value travel to India have been pathbreaking, such as the introduction of e-medical visas ranging from 60 days to 6 months and doing away with the requirement
for foreign patients to report to FRROs.
“We are going to set up six facilitation enters in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi, and Goa by January next year to cater to medical tourists. We
are also focusing on promoting homestays for medical tourists to bring down their cost of stay in India. I congratulate the Karnataka Government for its medical
and wellness tourism policy. We will also like to bring out a similar policy at the Central Government level next year,” Rajan said.