Medical tourism refers to activities that involve a foreign visitor traveling and spending at least one night at the destination to rejuvenate, restore, or stay healthy through medical intervention. The key factors influencing people’s decision to travel for medical treatment include the low cost of care abroad, the provider’s cultural background, the shared language, and particular procedures unavailable in the home country.
The medical tourism market in India is expected to reach INR 2,670.37 Bn by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of ~34.92% during the 2023 – 2027 forecast period. India has become a center for medical tourism due to well-trained medical staff and doctors, access to cutting-edge medical equipment, and reasonably priced medical care. According to the Medical Tourism Index 2020–21, India is ranked 10th out of the top 46 nations, 12th out of the top 20 wellness tourism markets, and 5th out of the top 10 wellness tourism destinations in the Asia-Pacific.
Impact of COVID-19:
During India’s nationwide lockdown due to a novel coronavirus outbreak, planned hospital operations decreased by up to 80%, while unplanned operations decreased by 66%. According to the Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourist arrivals for medical treatment in India fell by 73% in the calendar year ending December 2020, to 0.2 million, from 0.7 million in 2019. During FY 2021, medical tourism in India fell to nearly 33%. However, it reached 50% in FY 2022.
Key growth drivers of the market:
The affordability of high-quality treatment is undeniably the differentiating factor in medical tourism. Medical tourism is becoming a popular option for patients seeking shorter wait times, high-quality care, and a wide range of procedures at a reasonable cost. Medical tourism also allows one to travel to new places around the world.
Key deterrents to the growth of the market:
The most significant challenge is facilitating coordination between the various agencies responsible for the patient’s care. There are significant hygienic and patient safety problems in the Indian healthcare sector. With one of the highest percentages of post-operative infections, Indian hospitals are infamous for their lax infection control standards.