Reviving traditional medicine system, such as Ayush, has helped boost India’s medical tourism market in comparison to western nations, surviving only on modern medicinal system, health experts said here on Sunday. Observing that despite many recent policy changes, such as demonetisation and GST, the flow of foreign patients in India is increasing, the experts said the major reason for this is alternative medical solutions such as Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) which is available only in India.
“In spite of demonetisation, the nation’s medical tourism has not only seen an exponential growth but generated revenue and employment more than ever. Moreover, the Ministry of Ayush has also kept its upper hand in attracting foreign patients. The alternative treatment options have provided an important edge over the competitors in Asia,” said Ruchi Gupta, Founder and CEO of 3hcare.in, an online platform promoting medical tourism.
Commenting on the new government regulations, Gupta said the Goods and Services Tax has a productive effect especially on the healthcare industry and contributing to medical industry.
“India is poised to become the hub of medical tourism by 2020 and GST has a vital role in elevating the chances due to reduced insurance cost, pharmaceuticals and travel without diminishing the service quality. With complete healthcare packages — right from travel, e-visa on arrival until accommodation and treatments — available at three-tenths rate as compared to any developed country, India has an added competitive advantage,” said Gupta.
According to experts, the Indian medical tourism market is expected to more than double to reach $8 billion by 2020. Currently, Bangladesh and Afghanistan dominate the Indian medical value travel with a 34 per cent share.
Sanjay Agarwal, Medical Director of Hinduja Hospital, said that with the integration of surplus talent, technology, tourist attraction, trade and tradition, India is a potential place to promote itself as a premier global healthcare destination and enable streamlined medical services.
He said that among the medical procedures preferred by foreign patients in Indian hospitals are minimally invasive surgery and ayurvedic treatment, which is part of Ayush.