New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Medical tourism has a potential of growing by a whopping 25 percent annually to fetch India Rs.100 billion ($2.15 billion) a year by 2012, Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said Wednesday.
'The sector has a huge potential and looking at the response from foreign patients, we estimate that the country may fetch Rs.100 billion annually by 2012,' said Soni while releasing the 'Incredible India: The Global Healthcare Destination' brochure.
'We have just drawn up a year-long campaign to promote a holistic picture of India. In the medical tourism front all the wings including the Indian form of medicine and naturopathy will be promoted in a strategic way.
'In order to promote Brand India, we are partnering in the International Tourism in Berlin 2007, the leading tourism trade fair,' the minister said at a meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said the government was considering a bill that to provide for accreditation of all hospitals down to the district level.
'Besides, we are working on a quality control body, like the Joint Commission International of the US, to provide quality hospitals to every one,' the minister said.
He said only two to three percent Indians have any form of health insurance. 'We hope there will be a massive surge in medical insurance in the next five years,' he said.
Ramadoss said the government had launched a Rs.1.25 billion project for scientific validation of traditional healthcare systems of ayurveda, homoeopathy, unani and siddha.
'The aim is to integrate these systems with the allopathic systems of medicine and thereby increase their acceptance.'
The chairman of CII's National Committee on Healthcare, Naresh Trehan, said India was being recognised as a quality destination for medical value travel.
'There are 50 million people in the US without medical insurance and for them domestic treatment costs are prohibitive. Their treatment in India is now facilitated by tie-ups between the insurance companies in the US and private Indian hospital chains,' said the leading cardiologist.