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National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism

GS Paper 2/3

Syllabus: Government policies/Issues Relating to Health/Economy

 

Source: PIB

 Context: With an aim to improve medical tourism in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has formulated a National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism (2022).

 

Background: India has been ranked 10th in the Medical Tourism Index (MTI) for 2020-2021 out of 46 destinations in the world by the Medical Tourism Association.

 

Medical vs wellness tourism:

  • Medical tourism (valued at $60-80 billion globally) primarily addresses the “poor health” end of the market, with patients travelling to another place for specific medical treatments.
  • Wellness tourism (~$639 billion), on the other hand, attracts those seeking destinations that extend their wellness lifestyle and help them proactively maintain and improve their health and well-being.
  • As far as medical tourism is concerned, India currently has a $5-6 billion market (2019 figure) that may rise to $13 billion by 2026.

 

Govt. efforts to boost the medical tourism sector in India:

 

Streamlining Medical Value Travel (MVT): A segment that attracted 0.7 million foreign tourists in pre-pandemic 2019.

  • MVT is a specialised service by Hospitals and Wellness centres including both modern as well as traditional systems of medicine.
  • It involves healthcare service providers, VISA requirements, insurance, MVT facilitators, etc.

 

National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism (2022): Key pillars for the development of MVT in the country:

  • Develop a brand for India as a wellness destination
  • Strengthen the ecosystem for medical and wellness tourism
  • Enable digitalization by setting up an Online Medical Value Travel (MVT) Portal
  • Enhancement of accessibility for Medical Value Travel
  • Promoting Wellness Tourism
  • Governance and Institutional Framework

 

Heal in India Initiative: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Ayush have been working with C-DAC and the Services Export Promotion Council for developing a One Step Heal in India portal for the Promotion of MVT.

 

Champion Service Sector Scheme: The Ministry of Ayush developed a Central Sector Scheme for MVT to incentivise private investors for the establishment of Super Specialty Hospitals, etc.

 

e-Tourist Visa scheme: It was liberalised and renamed as an e-Visa scheme and at present, it has e-Medical Visa and e-Medical Attendant Visa as sub-categories of e-visa.

 

National Medical & Wellness Tourism Board (NMWTB): The Ministry of Tourism constituted the Board in 2015 to provide a dedicated institutional framework to take forward the cause of promotion of Medical and Wellness Tourism.

OpportunitiesChallengesWay ahead
A huge demand – an ageing population, long waiting periods in developed countries, etc●       Regional competition (Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia)

●       Lack of international accreditation (limited awareness about NABH)

●       Overseas medical care not covered by the insurer

●       Exploitation by middlemen

●       India is currently promoted as a destination under the “Incredible India” umbrella.

●       There is an urgent need to highlight the wellness/medical tourism offerings for patients seeking such services.

●       Establish linkages between stakeholders

●       Digitalisation

 

Insta Links: Heal in India