Over 800,000 foreigners have visited India in the past three years for medical treatment, making it one of the top destinations for medical tourism.
About 825,000 medical visas were issued to foreigners, mostly in African countries, between 2019 and 2021, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
“A total of 410,677, 142,928 and 272,190 foreigners arrived on medical visas in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively,” said Nityanand Rai, state interior minister.
The numbers are significant, despite international travel restrictions due to the coronavirus.
The global medical tourism market is estimated at around $72 billion. Countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are the main destinations for medical tourism.
India’s medical tourism industry is expected to be worth $9 billion in 2020, according to industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Last year, the country ranked 10th in the world in the medical tourism index compiled by the Medical Tourism Association.
The country has nearly 600 globally and nationally accredited hospitals that provide world-class treatment.
Foreign visitors seek treatment at medical centers such as Delhi and Mumbai, as well as in smaller towns where costs are lower.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Oman and West Africa are among the places people travel from for treatments ranging from dental care to critical surgery, including tumor removal, heart surgery and organ transplants.
Tourists can combine health services with visits to tourist attractions throughout the country.
“I came to India because of its affordability and quality treatment and the doctors here are well experienced compared to other countries,” said Abdinur, 65, who came from Somalia for heart surgery in the south of Hyderabad.
The pandemic has slowed the flow of visitors, but the industry expects to rebound.
Mahendrakar Sreekant, head of international operations at Medicover Hospitals in Hyderabad, said there had been a 30% increase in the number of patients since last year.
“We receive nearly 500 patients every year from countries like Yemen and Africa. In fact, patient attendance has increased since the pandemic restrictions were lifted as they waited for treatment,” Sreekant said. The National.
The Indian government has been pushing to make the country a go-to destination for quality and affordable healthcare.
The country is the world’s largest supplier of generic drugs.
Updated: February 09, 2022, 2:57 p.m.