Monday, April 6, 2009

Medical tourism in Goa may get a healthy boost

This news is bound to bring cheer to every heart in the tourism circles of Goa anmedical tourism in Goad the rest of India. The government of India is in the process of re-inventing its approach to the huge potential offered by medical  tourism  and the Indian tourism Ministry has therefore been in  discussions with major hospitals to offer incentives through attractive deals as a part of the visit India 2009 campaign.

The ministry is trying to involve major hospitals in the country to try and get the best deals so as to make the packages of visiting India very attractive for foreign tourists. In this regard discussions have already been had with  hospitals such as Wockhardt, Sevenhills,  Moolchand, Apollo, Manipal,  Lakeshore,and Sir Gangaram hospitals.

Medical tourists are showing a keen interest in India, given the cheaper costs of healthcare in the country. Around 1.6 lakh tourists traveled to India to avail medical attention in the year 2002 alone, raking in earnings of 300 million dollars to the country. Since that year, there has been a steady increase of over 25% every year of such travelers coming to the country and a reliable report suggests that earnings through medical tourism in India could go up to 2 billion dollars by the year 2012.

It is not for nothing that the foreign tourist is attracted to India vis-a-vis healthcare.The difference in costs is quite staggering for the decision of the foreign tourist to travel to India for medical attention. A heart bypass surgery would cost a tourist only 6000 dollars in India while the same surgery could cost him over 24,000 US dollars in the United States or around 20,000 US dollars in the United Kingdom. Other Asian countries like Singapore offer such surgeries at a cost of around 11,000 US dollars  while Thailand is relatively lower at around 8,000 US dollars.

Besides the lower costs of surgery, Indian hospitals offer world class facilities  with the latest medical technologies, well qualified Indian doctors and nurses with high level of efficiency.

The tourism ministry will therefore introduce all such benefits of choosing India as a destination for medical tourism in an attempt to boost the current scenario of tourism in the country. Also incentives are being worked out with major airlines, hotels and tour operators to offer free travel for a traveling spouse or an extra days free stay at he hotel.

The Goa government should therefore also make independent efforts and move vigorouslGoa medical tourismy on its own in the same direction to ensure that it does not get lost out on the medical tourism pie and make all round efforts to woo tourists to this wonderful holiday destination full of greenery, sun kissed beaches and a historically rich cultural tradition which the world tourist has always patronised. Medical tourism is the future and Goa should ensure that it is not left behind.

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