Kerala is soon to set up a holistic tourism centre that will promote medical tourism besides other attractions for visitors, state Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here Wednesday.
"This centre would combine various segments of tourism like ayurveda, farm tourism and medical tourism," Balakrishnan told the state assembly.
He said the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was currently preparing a report for the promotion of medical tourism in Kerala.
"Once the report is submitted we will take concrete steps for promoting medical tourism in a big way. There is already a steady inflow of foreign tourists for medical needs. Five years from now, we expect an increase of 100,000 medical tourists every year," Balakrishnan said.
Foreigners are arriving in Kerala's top hospitals for plastic and cosmetic surgery, facial surgery, dental treatments, cosmetology, hip and knee replacement, ophthalmology, voice therapy and obesity treatment.
The Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) here has taken the concept of medical value travel (MVT) in the state to newer heights through accreditations and certifications.
It was the first Indian hospital to be accredited by the Australian Council for Health Care Standards International (ACHSI).
KIMS received over 17,000 MVT patients from across the world last year for plastic surgery, dental treatment and joint replacement among others, said E.M. Najeeb, executive director of KIMS.
"Accreditation and certifications are a must for MVT because international insurance companies require this certification to pay their clients after they undergo treatments," said Najeeb.
Balakrishnan added that the government would soon map out all hospitals in the state that are fit to welcome tourists for medical purposes.
"We want these private hospitals to keep aside a portion of the income generated through medical tourism for treating poor patients. The government will ensure that they practice responsible tourism," the minister said.