A Promising Market for India

Medical tourism, also known as health tourism or global healthcare, refers to the practice of traveling to another country for the purpose of receiving medical or wellness treatment. It is a growing trend, and India is one of the leading destinations for medical tourists, along with countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Mexico.

Medical tourism in India, as of mid-2020, was estimated to be worth about $9 billion, placing India at the tenth position in the Global Medical Tourism Index. Almost 2 million patients visit India every year for various medical treatments. According to experts, corporate hospitals will earn 10-15% of their total revenue from medical tourism in the pre-COVID period, and it has dropped to 5-6% due to the pandemic. However, it is soon expected to rise to pre-COVID levels and even beyond. With support from the government’s Heal in India initiative, the industry is expected to reach $13 billion by 2026.

Key drivers for Medical Value Tourism (MVT)

  • Lack of quality health care providers especially in resource-limited countries
  • Long waiting times eg patients with inadequate infrastructure or high dependence on “crowded” public facilities
  • Better reliability and credibility of healthcare facilities by increasing the popularity of accreditation
  • Sustainable marketing initiatives by hospitals as well as host nations
  • Increased demand for alternative therapy and rejuvenation
  • Access to information with the increasing penetration of the Internet
  • Increasing propensity to travel mainly due to better connectivity

India is the most popular country for medical tourism because of its cheap yet high-quality medical treatments and world-class facilities. For example, a hip replacement surgery in the United States can cost more than $40,000, while the same surgery in India costs as little as $10,000.

Other reasons include minimum waiting time, premium hospitality services, easy air connectivity and more. India was on the list of top destinations with best hotels for wellness across Asia in 2015 and since then this industry has seen a boom. Five cities i.e. Goa, New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Chennai are said to be the best to enjoy a rejuvenating experience through wellness and medical tourism centers in India.

Top five medical tourism destinations in India and preferred hospitals in respective city:


Preferred hospitals


Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Escorts, Max Healthcare, BLK Hospital, Artemis, Medanta


Apollo Hospital, Fortis Malar, Billroth, MIOT International, SRM Hospital


HN Reliance, Jaslok, Saifee, Lilavati Hospital, Hinduja National Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospitals, Nanavati Hospital, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Bombay Hospital and Medical Research Center


Wockhardt Hospitals, Manipal Hospital


Apollo Hospitals International, HCG Multi Specialty Hospital & HCG Cancer Center, Narayana Multi Specialty Hospital, Shalby Hospital, Sterling Hospitals

Nations drive Indian MVT

Most of the tourists come from Asian or African countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Indonesia and Kenya, among others. Bangladesh and Afghanistan continued to be the top countries from where the maximum number of foreign tourist arrivals for medical purposes was seen. In 2017, about 2.21 lakh tourists from Bangladesh; which is almost 50% of its total medical tourists who visited India for medical reasons. Also, the number of medical tourists from Afghanistan stood at 55,681 in 2017. Other countries from where large numbers of medical tourists came to India include Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Iraq, Oman, Maldives, Yemen, Uzbekistan and Sudan.

In conclusion, India is a popular destination for medical tourism due to the high quality of healthcare services available at affordable prices. The country is known for its qualified medical professionals and state-of-the-art hospitals, making it a top destination for a range of medical treatments, including organ transplants, cosmetic surgery, dental care, and traditional practices such as Ayurveda and yoga.

Shantanu Thatte, Senior Manager – Business Development, HOSMAC


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