India Now - page 39

cross 320 million in 2015. The number was recorded at 85
million in 2012. The market had been growing at 27 per
cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in the last
three years.
Travel India Company jumped into the healthcare tour-
ism sector at the time “when the industry did not really
know what it was all about,” says its Founder & Director
Sandeep Bafna. A graduate in Business Management from
Coimbatore and an MSc in International Tourism from
Luton, UK, Bafna launched his company in 2005, primar-
ily concentrating on experiential holidays for the inbound
market and package tours for domestic travellers. The idea
of medical tourism seeped in through sustained analysis
of the trends and it was launched in December 2006. The
company aimed to provide quality medical treatment to
patients from outside India and act as a one stop shop for
all the requirements of foreign patients like accommoda-
tion, transfers, recuperative holidays, interlocutors and vari-
ous other associated requirements.
The market is ripe for players like Travel India Company
to flourish given the cost advantages that India offers in the
sector. The report quoted above notes that India’s key com-
petitiveness lies in the cost effectiveness it offers its medical
patients from abroad. The influx of patients is largely seeking
heart surgery, cosmetic surgery, dental care and knee replace-
ment. India provides the cheapest treatment as compared
to other tourism destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, Sin-
gapore and Hong Kong, notes the report. Bafna gives the
ground view adding, “Patients mostly come for orthopaedic
treatment and dental treatments. In orthopaedic branch, they
mostly seek speciality treatment like knee and hip replace-
ment surgery. I do get loads of queries for organ transplant,
especially kidney; however, I have to refuse such patients,
due to the law of our land which is stringent regarding such
transplants. Apart from these, slowly but steadily, non chron-
ic patients have started coming into India, especially South
India for Ayurvedic treatments.”
In a recent media report, Tourism Minister Mahesh
Sharma was quoted as saying that the government is in the
process of setting up a separate department in the ministry to
function as a coordinating office for visiting tourist patients
and facilitate them. The body would comprise
stakeholders from the industry including rep-
resentatives from hospitals, hospitality industry
and tour operators. The Minister also said that
an announcement to this effect will be made
soon. According to Patients Beyond Borders,
a trusted resource in medical travels, the size
of the global medical tourism market in 2014
was around US$ 38.5-55 billion. The estimate is
based on approximately 11 million cross-border
patients worldwide spending an average of US$
3,500-5,000 per visit, including all treatment-
related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay
and accommodations. It also estimates that the market is
growing at a CAGR of 20-25 per cent. India, as a key player
in the sector, is poised to receive more than half a million for-
eign patients annually from this year, and the number could
grow to 2.4 million medical tourists by 2020 and 4.9 million
by 2025 (Source: CCI Report, February 2015). At this rapid
rate of growth, it can easily emerge as the dominant player in
the industry, especially on the back of corporate investments
in the sector and its native advantages of traditional medi-
cine, wellness and therapy.
Backed by Ancient Wisdom
Yoga has already made India’s traditional
knowledge wealth a globally celebrated phe-
nomenon. Yoga is again at the centre stage with
June 21 being observed as the International Day
of Yoga. Many international tourists come to
India seeking the fountainhead of this ancient
wisdom and practice. Traditional wellness prac-
tices enshrined in AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani,
Siddhi and Homeopathy) got a shot in the
US$ 4
Size of Indian
medical tourism
Source: KPMG-
FICCI (2014)
“Patients mostly
come for orthopaedic
treatment and dental
treatments...I do get
loads of queries for
organ transplant...Apart
from these, slowly but
steadily, non chronic
patients have started
coming into India...”
Sandeep Bafna
Founder & Director, Travel India Company
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