People associated with India’s medical profession in Amritsar, north-western India, are encouraging political parties and leaders to create a policy to build the city into a leading medical tourism destination.
Local politicians have so far avoided promoting or developing medical tourism to Amritsar, arguing that, as a top religious destination, the city does not need it. Local medical professionals argue that this is short sighted, as the city must look at future development potential.
Amritsar has a solid medical healthcare infrastructure, with multi-specialty hospitals and skilled sector workers. Local multi-specialty and super-specialty hospitals are equipped with treatment facilities for eye-surgery, cardiology, IVF, dental surgery, hip and knee replacement. This is supported by the presence of medical colleges, nursing colleges, pharmacy colleges and research institutions.
The city has a vibrant hospitality sector with a large number of luxury, medium and small budget hotels. There is an international airport, four-lane road connectivity to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah joint check post, and an international bus station. The Union Government has said it is looking to introduce more direct international flights to the city from Central Asian and CIS countries such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Amritsar does currently attract medical travellers from as far away as the UK, USA and Australia but that is limited to Non Resident Indians. Most patients are from adjoining states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
One potential opportunity yet to be taken up is to offer medical visas on priority to Pakistani patients to visit Amritsar for treatment.