New Delhi, July 2: India is promoting health tourism abroad in a big way.
The tourism ministry has kicked off road shows abroad to promote the homegrown health industry, which has an annual growth of 35 per cent.
According to ministry officials, more people are flocking the country for cheaper and good medical services and the numbers have increased drastically over the years.
Official records show more than 63,000 foreign tourists have arrived from Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Denmark and the US for surgeries and treatments this year.
In India, medical facilities are far cheaper and way more advanced than in many countries. This has attracted a lot of people. We just want to take this a step further and promote it through our road shows. Health tourism is attracting more people than summer vacationers from all over the world, said a senior bureaucrat with the tourism ministry.
Ministry officials estimate a 35 per cent increase in the number of people coming to India for treatments starting from dental surgeries to knee transplants and neurosurgery. India has also emerged as a major destination for cosmetic surgery.
In the past three years, the health sector has faced stiff competition from Singapore and Malaysia, which are offering high-end health solutions at competitive prices.
We plan to reach out to more people through our road shows, said the official.
He added the ministry expected a minimum of 85,000 to 1 lakh people coming to India this year for treatments.
The road shows will comprise presentations and one-to one business meetings between trade delegations from India and travel trade representatives in the respective countries.
While road shows were carried out in the US and Caribbean countries in the first week of this month, similar shows were held last month in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, said the ministry official.
At present, Indian destinations are being showcased in Manchester, Birmingham, Durban and Glasgow in England.