‘Pune has adequate facilities to be developed as medical tourism hub’ - Hindustan Times
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‘Pune has adequate facilities to be developed as medical tourism hub’

ByVicky Pathare
Jan 07, 2024 06:28 AM IST

India is working on a new tourism policy to boost the industry. The government plans to include subsidies and benefits for medical tourists in the upcoming budget. Pune, a city in India, is aiming to become a medical tourism hub but faces tough competition from other countries. The government is also planning to upgrade infrastructure and increase connectivity to attract more tourists.

India is in the process of coming up with a new tourism policy to boost the industry in the country. In a move to improve medical tourism in the country, the government in the upcoming budget will include some subsidies and benefits for patients coming to India for medical tourism, Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik said.

Minister Naik informed that India is progressing in promoting health and wellness tourism and moving towards a global health destination. (HT PHOTO)
Minister Naik informed that India is progressing in promoting health and wellness tourism and moving towards a global health destination. (HT PHOTO)

Minister Naik on Friday was in Pune to attend a press conference organised by Ruby Hall Clinic (RHC). The conference was attended by Purvez Grant, chairman, and managing trustee of RHC, Dr Behram Khodaiji, CEO, of RHC, and advisor Ali Daruwala.

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Minister Naik informed that India is progressing in promoting health and wellness tourism and moving towards a global health destination.

Under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is taking adequate measures for the sustainable development of India. “A city like Pune has adequate facilities to be developed as a medical tourism hub. People from different countries come to Pune for tourism and medical tourism. With the state-of-the-art facilities, Pune is growing and has come a way ahead in terms of medical tourism.”

Pune currently gets patients from Yemen, Iraq, Oman, South Sudan, and Liberia amongst others. India is the most affordable option for medical tourism in the world with available quality healthcare. However, currently, Pune and similar cities in India are facing tough competition from countries like Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Jordan, Malaysia, and Thailand in medical tourism.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Naik added, “The Medical tourism policy of the country is not yet finalised. The policy is under development and the government will make provisions in the policy to make India one of the most preferred countries in the world for medical tourism. We will incorporate some subsidies and benefits for foreign nationals coming to India for medical treatment,” he said.

Medical tourism in other countries is turning out to be the preferred destination due to the promotion and ease of visas or discounts for medical tourists on Air travel. In Turkey and Jordan, the treatment cost is competitive with India with good connectivity. Turkish Airlines and Air Jordan promote medical tourism in their countries. Interestingly Turkish Airlines offers discounts to foreign patients travelling to Turkey for medical tourism.

Dr Purvez Grant, Managing Trustee of RHC, said that countries like France, Spain, and Italy each get around 60 million tourists every year, but India gets only 12 million tourists every year in comparison.

“The problem is the infrastructure which needs to be improved to lure tourists to India,” he opined.

Dr Grant said, “Pune has a major problem of poor Air connectivity which prevents the city from becoming a medical tourism destination. There is no connectivity from Pune to Europe or other countries. Only one flight comes from Dubai to India at odd times. Pune Airport should be developed, and connectivity should be increased. Medical tourism if developed in Pune will be similar to the IT hub but the infrastructure and connectivity are the major issues.”

Responding to that, Naik said the infrastructure in the city and other parts of the country will be upgraded to boost tourism.

“The Pune Airport will be upgraded, and its connectivity will be increased to increase medical tourism in the city. The new terminal at Pune Airport will be inaugurated soon by the hand of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi before the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

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