Monday, March 2, 2009

World Recession and Goa's medical tourism opportunities.

Recession hamedical tourism in Goas stung the world like a dreaded bee and sucked out much of the high net worth of many, into nothingness. The problem still persists and is showing little signs of abating. The whole world seems to have been walloped by this certain bug of  housing blues first originating in the mother of all economies, the United states which later unwillingly consumed the rest of the world.

Stock markets have since crashed and are showing no signs of normalcy returning to them and every day makes the rock bottom expectations of the world heading for the seemingly unending downslide.

In such times spendings have become frugal and people are searching for all cost saving mechanisms to ensure that their expenditures are cut down to a minimal. However when it comes to expenses related to medical attention, it is a tough call and people cannot do anything else other than  ensure that medical attention is given prime importance over all other.

This predicament of people in a financial crunch all over the world has opened the doors of medical tourism much wider to places like India and specifically Goa. While Goa has had its share of gloom due to the financial troubles affecting the world which hit tourism badly, the avenue of medical tourism is something that Goa needs to explore efficiently. Many opine that the recession in the US will turn out to be a boon in disguise for medical tourism for the country.

In 2007, Deloitte, the audit and consulting major released figures which showed that about 4.5 lakh patients from overseas visited India for medical treatment that year with potential for growth up to around 40% in this year. The reason for this surge is obvious. The cost of surgical procedures in India are around one fifth of those abroad.

A liver transplant operation in the United states costs around $4,00,000 ( approx Rs 2 crore). In the United Kingdom the cost would be close to pounds 1,20,000 ( approx 85 lakh). However in India , a liver transplant would cost only around $ 40,000 ( Rs 17- 18 lakh).

A heart bypass surgery in the United States costs anywhere close to $100,000 ( approx Rs 50 lakh ) whereas in India the cost is around $ 9000 (Rs  4.5 lakh ).

Such a high difference in cost is definitely very attractive for tourists all over the world to consider India/Goa as the right location to conduct such surgical operations. If one also includes the cost of travelling to  India/Goa, plus accommodation costs, the cost still remains significantly lower. Besides who would not enjoy a plush holiday in the post operation period to convalesce in luxurious surroundings like that of Goa, and still happily save a lot of money?

Anti-aging treatments such as neck lifts, face lifts and lipo-suction are currently the most sought after cosmetic procedures in India and the cost saving is around 75% over the cost of these procedures in the United states or the United Kingdom.

Dental treatment however is the hot favorite among tourists especially in Goa and all beach front areas in Goa as well as any hospitality locations are full of dental treatment facilities. Besides having qualified dentists for treatment, Goan dentists have struck a very friendly chord with world tourists who faithfully come back with more of their relatives for the finest treatment available here in Goa.

Interestingly, the Wellpoint, the largest health benefit company in the United states has added a new medical tourism product in their portfolio, aimed at helping recession hit American business houses to cut their costs of healthcare. this product significantly mentions about the option of choosing India as a healthcare destination for non-emergency procedures.

So this interest in India from medical houses abroad amply proves that India has arrived and places like Goa with beautiful ambience, clean surroundings and stunning array of holiday spots coupled with world class healthcare, is the right destination for the world tourist and the world recession may soon turn out to be Goa's gain in the long term.

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