The Medical and Wellness Tourism, recognised as Niche Tourism Segment in India, doubled the arrivals of foreign tourist visiting India for Medical Value Travel in recent past. According to the information rendered by K. J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism in a written reply in Lok Sabha today, Medical Value Foreign Tourist Arrivals stood at 1,84,298 in 2014, which more than doubled to 4,27,014 by 2016.
The Ministry of Tourism collates data regarding the arrivals on Medical and Medical Attendant visas provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Following are the foreign tourist arrivals in India for medical purpose during 2014 to 2016:
|Year||Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs)|
A National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board has also been constituted under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Tourism to provide a dedicated institutional framework to take forward the cause of promotion of Medical and Wellness Tourism including Ayurveda and any other format of Indian system of medicine covered by Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).
The Board has members from the Ministries of Health, Commerce, External Affairs, AYUSH, Home Affairs, the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) as well as representatives from the major chambers of commerce, Hospitals and independent experts in the field of Medicine and Wellness.
It works as an umbrella organisation to promote this segment of tourism in an organised manner. The Board has formed sub-committees on visa issues, accreditation and standards and marketing and promotion.
Ministry of Tourism also offers various facilities as given below to promote India as a preferred destination as well as facilitate the visit of medical tourists to the country:
(i) The Ministry offers financial support as Marketing Development Assistance for Publicity and for organising Wellness and Medical Tourism Promotion shows as well as workshops/events/seminars to accredited Medical and Wellness Tourism Service Providers and Chambers of Commerce, etc.
(ii) A film on Medical Tourism has been produced in association with BBC and is used at various fora for promotional purposes.
(iii) Medical and Medical attendant visa has been introduced to streamline and ease the travel process of Medical Tourists. The e-tourist visa regime has also been expanded to include medical visits as well.
(iv) It has been decided to set up facilitation counters at the major airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for tourists arriving on Medical Visas.