Medical Tourism

Obsolete visa rules undermine medical tourism

India, long seen as a centre for cost-effective treatment by people around the world, is losing its competitive edge in the medical tourism space.

The strict visa regime is making people give the country a miss in favour of other Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia which, although costlier, are seen as more welcoming of medical tourists. While there are no studies to show how much business is being lost annually, experts say getting a medical visa to India is almost impossible without hassles.

“Stringent visa rules are really ruining our prospects of becoming a hub for medical tourism,” says Prathap C Reddy, founder and chairman of Apollo Hospitals. The medical tourism industry, valued at $10.5 billion globally in 2012, is estimated to reach a $32.5 billion by 2019. India was able to garner a chunk of this revenue initially, but despite its obvious advantages in terms of quality and costs, the country has been unable to grow the business, says Reddy.

Full report here ETN


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