Medical tourism: Just what the doctor prescribed for India

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Medical tourism: Just what the doctor prescribed for India
Visitors browse through pamphlets at the Karnataka kiosk in India's pavilion at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

dubai - India has seen an increase in foreign tourists visiting for wellness treatment


Issac John

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Published: Mon 24 Apr 2017, 8:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Apr 2017, 10:07 PM

The number of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India from the Gulf and the Middle East jumped 17 per cent in 2016 with the country emerging as a sought-after global destination for medical and wellness travel, India Tourism office in Dubai said.

For India, which drew nearly nine million foreign tourists in 2016, a growth of 10.7 per cent over the previous year, the Gulf and the Middle East region remains an important market. "There has been a consistent and positive growth of FTAs from this region to India over the last three years," India Tourism officials said at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

The percentage of FTAs in India for medical treatment has been increasing over the years and growing rapidly since the year 2000, Gyan Bhushan, Economic Advisor, Indian Ministry of Tourism, said at a press conference. Also present were Vipul, Consul-General of India to Dubai, and Saket Saran, Country Manager, Air India.

"India is poised to become a hub for medical tourism because of several factors, including the availability of world-class hospitals with latest technology; highly skilled Indian physicians and surgeons; cost-effective treatment; quality of care and nursing; less waiting time for availing of medical services; traditional healthcare therapies like ayurveda and yoga combined with allopathic treatment providing a holistic wellness destination," Bhushan said.

At the ATM, India Tourism is showcasing the tourism potential of the country - both business and leisure travel - under the 'Incredible India' banner.

A total of 24 participants from India are participating in the India Pavilion set up by the Ministry of Tourism. Participants represent the state tourism departments of Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir, Air India, Indian Tourism Development Corporation, tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and resorts, wellness, spas and ayurveda centres. The theme chosen for India's participation at ATM 2017 is 'Yoga and Wellness'.

One of the highlights of 'Incredible India' is the depiction of India as a multi-faceted tourist destination for luxury, wildlife and wellness and medical tourism, officials said. India has 35 world heritage sites which include historic monuments and natural wonders which are being promoted by the tour operators.

Some of the countries from the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan, are emerging as major tourism generating markets for India.

According to Indian Tourism, one of the regions in focus is the North Eastern region of India which comprises eight states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

Another advantage for India is its proximity to already popular cruise destinations in the South Asian region. There is enormous potential to develop cruise tourism, both international and domestic, and the Ministry of Tourism is making all efforts to promote this segment.

India has taken several steps to liberalise the visa regime. The e-Tourist Visa has been made available for nationals of 161 countries. During 2016, 10,79,696 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 4,45,300 during 2015.

Officials said e-visa is now available under three sub-categories, including tourist visa, e-Business Visa and e-Medical visa. The window for application under e-Visa has been increased from the existing 30 days to 120 days and the duration of stay in India under e-Visa has been increased from the existing 30 days to 60 days.

The Ministry of Tourism of India has also taken the initiative of providing pre-loaded SIM card to foreign tourists arriving on e-visa at T3 Terminal, Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, and Cochin International Airport.


Gyan Bhushan, Vipul and Saket Saran address a press conference to promote the India Tourism industry in Dubai.
Gyan Bhushan, Vipul and Saket Saran address a press conference to promote the India Tourism industry in Dubai.

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