India stands out as a Health Tourism powerhouse
2023 is expected to be a booming year for medical tourism. Pent-up demand, inflation increasing the cost of treatments in the western countries, and the Ukraine-Russia war driving more patients from both countries for treatments to India, are key factors because this sector is expected to grow 21 percent in 2023.
In addition, the government’s initiatives of accrediting Ayush centers and launching Ayush visas will further boost India’s medical tourism sector in the wellness space which is seeing a global revival post covid. Besides this, increased attention to mental issues and recession-related stress may result in a significant increase in ayurvedic patients in India.
Another noticeable trend is the increased demand for IVF treatments from India, which has seen unprecedented demand post covid. Fertility issues are widespread across the developed world and more couples are now opting for IVF to make up for treatment gaps during Covid.
To add momentum to all these growth factors, the Indian government is expected to launch its Heal in India campaign in 2023, allocating over 2000 crores in budgets under the champion service sector to promote medical tourism to India and scale it from $6 billion currently to $13 billion by 2025.
India’s top competition in the space comes from Turkey and Thailand, which offer similar treatments with more attractive tourist attractions and easier visa norms. With both these countries allocating large budgets towards Health Tourism, the global competition for quality health services with notch up, giving even better experiences and options to patients.
2023 is expected to see a multitude of startups in the space raising capital, riding on renewed investor interest in the Health and Travel sectors post covid. Startups such as Healthtrip and Qunomedical had already announced investments in 2022 and would be expected to raise larger rounds in 2023 to capture the global market in Health Tourism.
However, global demand for better healthcare is increasing at unprecedented rates, and increases in dollar prices and fuel costs may affect growth rates in 2023, even though most patients coming to India represent the rich class in their countries.
Inversely, further reduction in fuel or dollar prices will also increase demand for medical and health tourism, propelled by other factors mentioned before.
Medical tourism to India started in the early 2000s when healthcare started seeing corporate chains like Apollo, Fortis, and Max group emerge to serve Indian and foreign patients. Two decades on, India’s healthcare brand is established worldwide and the sector is now getting much-deserved government support.
Medical tourism growth will also encourage investment in world-class equipment, robotic surgery, and new AI-enabled technologies which will attract further patients, both domestically and internationally.