An Australian businessman gets a heart transplant in Chennai. A high level executive from the UK comes to Kolkata for a knee transplant. Welcome to the age of medical tourism. Many parts of the so-called third world are suddenly the preferred destinations for people from developed country looking for good, bu cheap, medical care.
With healthcare costs shooting through the roof in the US and the UK, and most of the other “developed” nations, it has become difficult for people belonging to the middle to semi affluent class to afford the best medical care, or difficult and expensive medical procedures. On the other hand, a number of countries in the “developing” world now have first rate, world class medical facilities, and doctors, many of whom were trained in those very developed nations! Plus, the recession has made things harder for everyone, even well-off Americans or Europeans.
A combination of the first two factors had already begun to drive a considerable number of foreigners to Asia, and specifically to India, in search of affordable but quality medical care. Add the economic downturn to the mix, and a place like India, where the dollar goes much further than it can back home, suddenly becomes even more attractive. State of the art equipment, world class hospitals, highly qualified doctors, and great medical care, all for a fraction of the cost, attracts, and will continue to attract people from around the world!
Also, on the plus side, travel, stay, and getting around, have gotten much easier for foreigners, especially in urban India. Better and more frequent flights, internationally and inter-city, better budget hotels that provide three star comfort, and better tourist and taxi services have made life easier for the visitor. All in all, everything seems to be geared perfectly to the visitor here for a purpose. As a result, medical tourism is not one of the biggest and fastest growing, sectors of tourism. Especially since conventional “lets go and see the place” tourism is on the decline post economic crash.
Medical tourism is all set to grow manifold in the coming years, and mitigate some of the loss from the decline in conventional tourism. It also puts India on the map for world class services! Not a mean achievement at all!