A New Delhi Based Aggregator platform of Bed & Breakfast (BnB) accommodations, supporting the “Incredible India” theme, to serve foreign and domestic tourists- BnB Nation works on to turn home owners into entrepreneurs and bring forth 3 and 5 star hotel stay experience at the price of a 1-star hotel. Being mentored by a renowned travel tourism expert, GG Saxena, former MD of Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corp. (DTTDC), a well known expert in the industry with doctorate in the area of “Role of Bed and Breakfasts” in Delhi; BnB Nation has adopted prime focus on facilitating affordable accommodation for the cause of promoting Medical Value Travel or medical tourism in India.
“India ranks 5th in the world in attracting Medical tourists due to state-of-the-art and comparatively cheaper medical facilities. The Annual rate of growth of Medical tourism in India is 28% which is equivalent to triple the growth of Foreign tourists otherwise. Had Obamacare been fully implemented in USA, the medical tourism sector in India would have risen from 50,000 US Medical tourists annually to 20 lakh US medical tourists because of favourable insurance plan available for the US corporate sector,” says Saxena.
“Also, domestic medical value travellers from suburban and rural India come to its metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc. for want of state-of-the-art global healthcare facilities coupled by superior medical facilities, infrastructure of hospitals and top class physicians and surgeons,” he adds.
From his experience, Saxena notes that the foreign medical tourists are generally accompanied by one attendant who can be a spouse, son or daughter or relative. They stay here for more than a month as convalescence i.e. Recovery after surgery takes almost 20-25 days. These medical tourists can ill afford to stay in the private rooms of hospitals and hotels as they are quite expensive. According to him Bed and Breakfast accommodation is a silver lining for these tourists as the attendant need day to day information like buying medicines from appropriate chemists, shopping, travelling to nearby places, sightseeing etc.
Also, there is little possibility for attendants to get all these facilities and information from a hotel/hospital. “Besides this, B&B accommodations are almost 30% cheaper than a standard hotel with similar facilities due to non-applicability of Luxury tax, Commercial levies on electricity and water, as per my research article: Economics of Bed and Breakfast scheme in Delhi, G G Saxena, July 2013, SAJTH Vol 6, No. 2,” explains Saxena.
Here its important to note for such medical tourists that these medical facilities are available for life threatening as well as non-life threatening diseases (i.e. Wellness) and BnB’s are useful in both the cases. As regards, acceptability of BnB stays by domestic and foreign medical tourists, it is essential that such facilities should be available near the hospital. These BnB’s are connected with Metro, bus services, etc.
On the demand front, Saxena thinks that in Indian cities, a few BnB’s are registered and can hardly cope up with the demand of the incoming foreign medical tourists which is almost 5-7% of FTA. However, as and when a hospital/wellness centre is established in an area, the home owners having extra rooms may get some of their rooms converted in BnB due to excessive demand.
Since there is need of special facilities related to disability due to illness and otherwise, the BnB owners have better opportunities to provide extra facilities like railings, mounted toilets, ramps, wheelchair, etc. The Ministry of Tourism had extended financial assistance to the hotels to install ramps, railings etc. The scope of BnB accommodation for persons with slow mobility has great potential as mentioned in the research article: Tapping Accessibile and Medical Tourism by B&B establishments in Delhi, adds Saxena.