First meeting of “National Medical & Wellness Tourism Promotion Board”was held under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism & Culture & Civil Aviation here today. Key members, including representatives of well known hospital chains, other stakeholders and the representatives of related Government Departments, Tourism & Hospitality sectors and experts in various disciplines including Wellness and Yoga participated in the meeting. The list of the Members of the Board is given below for ready reference.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, the Chairman of the Board and the Minister for Tourism announced that Three Sub-Committees would be constituted immediately to look into the issues such as Regulatory; Accreditation and Marketing. He mentioned about the role of Government as a facilitator and that the private sector has to continue to lead the medical and wellness tourism sector. The Board will function in an effective, responsible, and time bound manner to find solutions for immediate concerns in the efforts of health and tourism sector. He added that India’s competitive advantage, which lies in a large pool of well trained medical professionals, and its cost competitiveness compared to other countries, will certainly take this niche segment of tourism to its greater height.
The Board plans to build up a Data Bank of available resources in the field of Medical and Wellness services in the country and to develop mechanism to disseminate such information to the source markets.
The Board observed that the healthcare delivery system in the country has improved and there are several positive factors in our healthcare system due to which several countries now look East, particularly India because of the quality offered at affordable cost. However, it was pointed out that a system needs to be devised to iron out the unevenness in the delivery system. It was reiterated by the members that more accredited hospitals, easy visa regime and providing linkages between service providers and the end user is the need of the hour to develop, promote and market India as a Medical & Wellness Tourism hub.
The Board decided to have a single responsible body which is visible, accessible and through which the various medical systems which are interconnected can be reached by all. The Board unanimously agreed that a dedicated and sustained campaign on Medical & Wellness Tourism in the source markets will result in substantially enhance medical tourist arrivals to the country which can be led only by Government interventions. It also agreed on integrating the services under Ayurveda, Yoga and other systems. The Government needs to address the issue of sensitization of service providers, particularly in the field of Wellness & Ayurveda.
Healthcare and wellness has become one of the largest sectors of India – both in terms of revenue and employment comprising hospitals, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, wellness, health insurance and medical tourism, health insurance etc. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its cost effectiveness, strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players. With healthcare cost in developed countries increasing, cost consciousness among patients seeking treatment and availability of accredited facilities has given rise to many global medical tourism corridors. Among these, India is one of the countries which have a large number of accredited facilities.
Realising the importance of this and to provide dedicated institutional framework to take forward the cause of promotion of Medical and wellness Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has constituted a Medical and Wellness Tourism Board. This Board will provide leadership of the Government within a framework of prudent and effective measures, thereby enabling promotion and positioning of India as a competent and credible medical and wellness tourism destination.