India's fast-growing medical tourism industry is set to get a further boost with two companies coming together to market the entire range of medicare facilities overseas.
Global Medicare, a healthcare consultancy, and Uday Tours and Travel, a leading travel firm, have signed an agreement to endorse super-specialty medical facilities in the US, Britain, South Africa, Canada and the Middle East.
"Initially we will take about top 40 recognised hospitals and promote their expertise overseas. Non-resident Indians will be our initial target but gradually the purview will be broadened to all sections of the society in those countries," V.N. Seth, chief of Global Medicare, told IANS.
The 40-odd private hospitals that have been selected from major cities of the country have world-class facilities and will be recognised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Escorts Hospital, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Max Healthcare, Shankar Netralaya, Chennai, and Narayan Hrudalaya in Bangalore are a few of them.
The joint collaboration will market the entire gamut of medical facilities available in India including cardio vascular treatment, cancer treatment, joint replacement surgery, hip surgery, cosmetic and plastic surgery and eye treatment.
While Global Medicare will be in charge of networking with the top medical institutions in India, Uday Tours will undertake marketing and promotional activities overseas. It will also make all the travel and ground arrangements like accommodation and sight seeing for their clients.
Interestingly, the collaboration also plans to offer ayurvedic treatment and yoga in Kerala for post-operative recovery.
"In foreign countries we have partner tour operators. We are going to further tie up with travel wholesalers. We will also insert advertisements in newspapers and try to network with Indian physicians there," said Atul Seth, marketing manager of Uday Tours.
With India offering world-class medical facilities at competitive rates, foreigners are increasingly coming to the country for medical treatment.
Seth said around 150,000 foreigners visited India in 2004 and about 200,000 in 2005 for treatment.
According to a study by the CII and McKinsey, the medical tourism industry is expected to grow to 1.21 billion pounds by 2012.
"The long waiting list in developing countries and the cost effective and quick treatment in India are a suitable combination to attract more patients to our country. In India, foreigners can get treatment from healthcare professionals and nursing care at a fourth the rate in developed countries," said V.N. Seth, former executive director of Batra Hospitals and chief executive officer of Modi Hospitals here.
"We are going to advertise our unique facilities and develop a network with other healthcare consultancy firms abroad," he added.