Prospects and Challenges of Medical Tourism: Evidences From Manipur

Prospects and Challenges of Medical Tourism: Evidences From Manipur

Sunildro LS Akoijam (North-Eastern Hill University, India) and Tabassum Khan (Unity College, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9787-2.ch014
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Medical tourism has seen rapid growth in the past few years in Manipur from neighboring states as well as countries, particularly Myanmar. Manipur is also trying to be on the medical tourism map of India with eminent medical practitioners across the state trying to take advantage of the Act East Policy of the Indian Government. Manipur witnessed a significant investment in healthcare over the last decade. With the emergence of some of the eminent hospitals and research institutes with advanced technology in the state, the diagnosis of many of the complicated medical problems are done effectively with minimal cost. The prospect looks bright, but challenges such as tag of being a ‘disturbed area' and complex visa procedures for foreign nationals could constraints to the exponential growth of medical tourism in Manipur, especially from neighboring countries. The chapter is an attempt to study the prospects and challenges of medical tourism in Manipur. The study is exploratory in nature with insights from available literature and data from various sources.
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Medical Tourism is the convergence of foreign tourist arrivals with medical assistance. When distinguished from mere medical tourism, wellness pertains to preventive while medical invariably refers to curative care. Even within medical tourism, the therapeutic drivers range from cosmetic or dental treatments to highly complex transplants, cardiac and replacement procedures. The global medical tourism market size is expected to reach USD 179.6 billion by 2026, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., registering a 21.9% CAGR during the forecast period. Medical tourism generates direct foreign exchange income and contributes to the overall development of any economy. It also provides employment and business opportunities for residents. Moreover, it aids the growth of associated businesses such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and tourism. Government support to maintain the general reputation and political stability of the host country is a key factor driving the medical tourism market. The global medical tourism market will reach the market value of US$ 40 billion by next year, 2020 at a CAGR of 17%. India along with countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico etc. plays a key role in shaping this market opportunity. Availability of cheaper medical treatment options along with better quality care is the primary factor that drives preference for offshore medical tourism. Patients can save in between 30% to 80% of the total treatment costs in these destinations. Moreover, benefits such as better healthcare, latest technologies, innovative medicines, advanced devices, better hospitality and personalized healthcare services are some of the major forces driving the market.

Government authorities are willing to invest in local enterprises to capitalize on the growth of medical tourism. Such government bodies have been authorizing projects that help in the overall development of infrastructure in a country, such as public transport system and water supply facilities, to attract high-end medical travelers.

Medical tourism has led to a rise in state-of-the-art medical facilities in developing countries to attract foreign nationals, resulting in fast growth of healthcare infrastructure in such countries. Moreover, healthcare providers now offer comprehensive medical tourism packages that include services ranging from ticket booking to hotel stay and medical insurance.

Thailand dominated the market in terms of revenue in 2018 owing to low cost and good quality medical services offered in the country. In 2016, Thailand ranked 18th in the International Healthcare Research Center’s Medical Tourism Index. Moreover, the country ranked 13th on the same index in terms of quality of facilities and services provided owing to well-developed healthcare infrastructure and increasing number of medical professionals. Thailand is also home to Asia’s first largest private hospital, Bumrungrad International Hospital, which is also the first hospital to receive a JCI accreditation and ISO 9001 certification. Till date, over 53 private hospitals have received JCI accreditation.

Figure 1.

Global medical tourism market


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