Govt plans to enhance medical, wellness tourism after Covid recovery

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The Union Governnment has proposed a draft strategy to enhance travel and tourism considering the current situation of Covid-19 by presenting the image of India as a medical and wellness tourism destination.

For accomplishing the same, the ministry of tourism has recommended restructuring of the National Medical & Wellness Tourism Promotion Board led by Union Minister along with a highly liberalized visa policy, according to the draft recommendations presented past Friday.

The June 12 draft stated, “The board will be restructured to streamline its functioning and discharge its responsibilities as one-stop centre for medical value travel. The board will have an advisory committee, a technical committee and an executive committee to discharge its functions,” urging comments from the public till June 30.

The draft further added, “In post Covid-19, demand for wellness travel will increase and it provides a great opportunity to India with its varied offerings.”

The board was created in 2015 with the objective to “provide dedicated institutional framework to take forward the cause of promotion of medical and wellness tourism, including the Indian system of medicine covered by Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopath (AYUSH).”

The most preferred destinations for the count of the patients for medical value travel are countries like Thailand, US, Singapore, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, India, and Taiwan. The draft revealed, “The global medical value travel market size is in the range of USD 60-80 Billion and some 141 million people travel across the borders for medical tourism . India has been ranked 10th in Medical Tourism Index (MTI) for 2020-21 out of 46 destinations of the world by Medical Tourism Association.”

“Global Wellness Institute has estimated global wellness tourism market to be USD 639 Billion in 2017 with Secondary wellness travellers accounting for 89% of the trips and 86% of the expenditure. Domestic wellness travel contributing 82% of total trips and 65% of expenditure,” the draft added.

Global Wellness Institute is a non-profit organization, having the aim to focus on empowering wellness globally through educating public and private sectors.

According to the Global Wellness Tourism Index estimates as presented in the report, India held the 7th rank in 2017 with a record of 56 million trips for wellness tourism and a revenue generation of USD 16.3 Billion.

The draft also determined the shortage of government regulations for the sector and devoid of a nodal body to spearhead Medical Value Travel considering areas that require special focus. It said, “Under Heal in India campaign, an integrated communication strategy to promote brand India will be prepared and executed in partnership with the industry. This will be promoted as a sub brand of Incredible India on all the digital platforms and global media campaign of the ministry.”

The draft has also presented a highly liberalized visa policy. The draft added, “India has already introduced e-VISA and other measures to facilitate medical value travellers to visit India. India will further liberalise and put in place a holistic and transparent visa regime to make it more patient friendly.”

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