While it is estimated that Indian medical tourism expected to touch $6 billion by 2018, in India the total share of medical tourist arriving is 2-3 per cent only with countries like Thailand getting a major share. As the industry is expected to grow at 20 per cent CAGR through 2014 to 2018, Gujarat is all set to emerge as a medical tourism hub with low cost treatment offerings in place.
In a recent study done by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) on Medical and Wellness Tourism opportunities in India, it is estimated that Indian Medical Tourism expected to touch $ 6 billion by 2018. The report further highlights the vast medical and wellness tourism opportunities exist in states like Gujarat & Maharashtra in western India.
According to the report, India had made to top five spots because of hosting a nearly 166,000 medical tourist from all over the word in 2012. India is more popular among medical tourists interested in wellness, orthopedic and cardiac procedures.
However, the number of medical tourist arriving percentage is much higher in Thailand with number one position. In India the total share of medical tourist arriving is 2-3 per cent only. The report further stated that while170,000 medical tourists arrived in 2012, the figure will touch 430,000 medical tourists by 2014.
The chamber, however, adds that the Indian medical tourism segment in value terms would be growing at CAGR 20 per cent between 2014 and 2018.
Currently, the size of the segment in India in value term is estimated at little over $ 3 billion with tourist arrivals estimated at 230,000.
Apollo Hospitals, Gandhinagar, which now gets around 5-10 per cent patients from overseas, is eyeing to take that up to 35 per cent of net patient admissions over the next few years. Another hospital chain, Sterling Hospitals is planning to set up representative offices in key countries like countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda apart from the UK to get more patients. Another major city-based hospital, Shalby Hospitals gets around 10-12 per cent of its patients from African countries mainly for joint replacement surgeries.
Apollo handles around 20 international patients every month who mainly come for transplant surgeries, cardiac and cancer surgeries.
Abhijat Sheth, director, medical services, Apollo Hospitals, Gandhinagar said, "The cost of these surgeries is around ten times more in major western countries."
He further added that while a knee replacement surgery costs around $4,500 (Rs 2.8 lakh) in Ahmedabad, it would cost in the range of $35,000-45,000 overseas (Rs 21.8- 28 lakh).
"Ahmedabad has already earned a reputation as preferred knee replacement surgery destination, and on an average, around 5,000-7,000 such surgeries happen in the city per year," Sheth said.