Kerala should appoint a brand ambassador to boost its health tourism industry in the US, says an umbrella grouping of Malayalis based abroad.
The Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (Fokana), which has members in North America and Canada, has asked the Indian and Kerala governments to promote the state as a destination for medical tourism.
"The brand ambassador should attract the attention of the entire US. If Kerala does it, there will be an unending stream of US citizens arriving in the state for their medical needs," Fokana president Sasidharan Nair told reporters here.
"An open heart surgery in the US costs Rs.9 million whereas it can be done at less than half a million rupees in Kerala. Dental treatment is another sector that has huge potential here," said Fokana general-secretary Aniyan George.
Fokana also plans to bring out a directory of Kerala-based hospitals and doctors in the US. Set up in 1983, Fokana is emerging as the biggest socio-cultural organisation of Malayalis outside Kerala.
"We have decided to construct 100 houses for the poor across the state and the first cheque (towards the project) was handed over last week," said Nair.