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Growth of medical tourism in India and public-private partnerships

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Anita MedhekarAnita Medhekar
Medical tourism in India is a billion dollar and fastest growing healthcare industry. Medical tourism involves traveling across the border nationally or internationally for urgent or elective medical surgeries and other specialised treatments. This is a modern 'cost effective' term coined by healthcare and tourism industries across the globe, although the phenomenon is not new. People have been for centuries traveling within India, for medical healing to the ancient shrines and temples. Pilgrims and patients across the Mediterranean also travelled to ancient Greece to stay in the shrine of the healing god, Asklepios. Today a growing number of patients as tourist from developed countries such as UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and Europe are travelling abroad to developing countries like India, Malaysia, Thailand, and China with the main objective of obtaining immediate health care, plastic surgery, organ replacement, reproductive –IVF procedures including elective surgery and long-term care is gaining greater appeal in the globalised world with fewer barriers to travel. This trend is spreading fast due to the very high cost of elective medical procedures, lack or shortage of organ donors and above all long waiting lists in developed countries. India is the preferred choice in terms of, low cost, no waiting period, climate, English language, exotic destinations, and international and government accreditation.A developing country like India is emerging as a world class medical tourist market in the world, emphasized by world class technology-intensive medical equipment, highly qualified and experienced expertise of medical professionals, the cost-effectiveness of the medical procedures– and above all low cost medical-tourist package for foreigners along with recovery and rest in a five star medical-tourism resort for the patients and accompanying family members. Moreover, it can be argued that public and private sector partnerships is essential between the various key stake holders for providing accredited, efficient, effective, equitable and good quality of health care for the long term sustainability of the medical tourism industry for the host country, given the increasing competition to maximise their participation in the global economy, as well as to guarantee quality of service, infrastructure needs, reasonable price, accreditation and handling of any legal disputes.Like many countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, India also promotes medical tourism through government support and National Health Policy (NHP) reform of 2002 drafted by Prime Minister’s advisory council on Trade and Industry, which treats this industry legally as an ‘export sector’ eligible for all fiscal incentives extended to export earnings. This conceptual paper examines the growth of medical tourism in India and public and private partnerships. Part one introduces the importance of medical tourism and its growth in India. Part two reviews the literature and examines its significance as a major source of export revenue. Part three considers how the adoption of PPP/PFI policy will promote the sustainable growth of medical tourism industry in India and make it globally competitive health care destination. Finally, part four provides some concluding comments.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

Book of abstracts : 7th IIDS-IIMS International Conference on Development (New Series), 13-18 December 2010, Calcutta, India R. Kartik & K. Sandip (eds.).

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Calcutta, India


IIDS, Australia

Place of Publication

Calcutta, India

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Arts, Business, Informatics and Education; International Conference on Development (New Series); International Conference on Development (New Series); Not affiliated to a Research Institute;

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

International Institute for Development Studies (Australia). International Conference on Development (New Series);International Institute of Management Sciences (India). International Conference on Development (New Series)