A recent meeting of the Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion of India concluded that the combination of no foreseen resolution to COVID-19, and the global travel breakdown would result in the Indian medical tourism industry being at a standstill at least for the next few months. A six-month delay could wipe US$2.5 billion off the revenue for 2020. This is equivalent to the revenue it would have generated over eight months if business had progressed at the usual pace, without the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Medical tourism, including patients travelling to India for both treatment in modern medicine and traditional AYUSH, is estimated to be a US$3 billion market for India, according to the Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion.
Dalip Chopra of the Foundation of Healthcare and Promotion warned: “For many of the medical tourism players who have brought India to the top of the world medical tourism map, they stare at a dark future”.
The organisation warns that the medical tourism industry urgently needs immediate financial stimulus and support. In absence of this, the industry may not survive, resulting in immense foreseen and unforeseen foreign exchange losses, losses of widespread jobs and losses of a multi-billion dollar inflow in the near future.
The answer is for the industry and the FICCI to work with the government to support the medical tourism industry. The government must reduce restrictions on international patients coming to India as soon as possible, with adequate measures to ensure such patients don’t spread COVID-19.