Healthcare :: Promote India as the new emerging medical value travel destination abroad, says Ambika Soni

The Tourism and Culture Minister Smt. Ambika Soni has stressed the need to promote India as the new emerging Medical Value Travel destination abroad. She was speaking at the 4th India Health Summit here. Smt. Soni said the way medial tourism has developed in recent times is largely linked to economics and technology and India is positioning itself as the primary medical destination for the most complex medical procedures in the world.

She said we need to work out a strategy to retain our pre-eminence in this area. The Minister said, her Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Industry is committed to making this happen. The market is growing, the revenue generated was approximately $ 333 million in 2004 is expected to increase @ 20% and is estimated to touch $ 2.2 billion by 2012. Smt. Soni said the private and public hospitals need to synergies their efforts and promote India as the Healthcare destination worldwide and should strategize to bring international medical conferences to India in various specializations such as urology, cardiology etc.

Listing the efforts of the Tourism Ministry in promoting medical tourism, the Minister said her Ministry in close consultation with Home Ministry has been able to bring out a special type of visa known as M Visa for foreign patients visiting India for treatment. It would be valid for one year duration and can be extended further on arrival in India. She said it also makes provision for a patient to be accompanied by the companion. She said Tourism Ministry is already working on low budget hotels and Bed and Breakfast Schemes to provide accommodation to the tourists. She said the medical fraternity should integrate these developments into its strategy.

Smt. Soni said to promote medical tourism, we need to address the medical infrastructure and the hygiene issues. Developing countries, especially and South and South East Asia are feared to be infested with infectious diseases . We should convert our medical centers sanitation zones with zero tolerance for uncleanness. At the same time, our tourist destinations should acquire a clean environment ambience. She said the tour operators, guides and travel agencies should work on inculcating this sense amongst the citizens at the local level. The Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ campaign has a message for all citizens of the country to come together against graffiti and the need for maintaining clean environment. Smt. Soni said every stakeholder including the Doctors, hospitals, medical professional, travel agency and all other agencies must work towards achieving the objective of cleanliness. A patient should leave India spiritually enhanced and physically rejuvenated at the end of his/ her stay.

The two-day conference is being attended by top health experts, doctors and captains of industry.

— Article compiled by Dr. Vimmi from medical news release.

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