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India in Spotlight



                                         TOURISM: THE NEXT GROWTH AREA


Professor Sibal is Group Medical Director of the Apollo Hospitals Group, Adjunct Professor of Paediatrics at the School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Australia and a Senior Pediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Apollo Hospital Delhi. was born in Australia the son of an Indian diplomat, was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 – UK. He established own business in the travel sector 25 years ago and realised the critical role the Internet would play in the travel industry. He established the first interactive website for travel agents in the UK,, in 1996. was formed in 1999. NASDAQ, NEUER, and LSE listings soon followed and rolled out across Europe becoming the leading online travel agency in Europe.

What are the present statistics of tourists visiting India? How long is the average stay, how much do they spend on average, where do they come from and where do they go?

Sibal: Around 450,000 medical tourists visited India from South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America in 2007. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the average medical tourist in India spends more than US$ 7,000 per visit. The average length of stay is around 5.9 days (taken from the ALOS for Indian hospitals, as separate data is not available for medical tourists).

Dhamija: I think 4 million visitors, of which 1 million are nonresident Indians.

What do you project will the above picture look like in five years time?

Sibal: India expects to receive 1 million medical tourists in 2012. The medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30 percent.
Six million in five years time.

>>India expects to receive 1 million medical tourists in 2012. The medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30 percent.the  <<

If you had a ‘Wish List’ for tourism in India, what would be on that list?

Sibal: The “Wish List” for medical tourism in India would be:

a. Tax exemption for the construction of hospitals and the expansion or refurbishing of existing ones.

b. Incentives under the Income Tax Act for expenses incurred by private hospitals to obtain domestic or internationally recognized accreditation.

c. Governmental support for international advertisements and participation in road shows.

d. Facilitation of medical visas. e. Medical visas on arrival.

Dhamija: Improve infrastucture to western standards, allow casinos, improve infrastructure to Western standards and the concept of Southeast Asian service.

Would you please comment on the growth of medical tourism and the factors that have contributed to that growth?

Sibal: The measures that are helping medical tourism to grow are: i. Growing trend of international accreditation by the International Joint Commission and adherence to quality norms. ii. Expanding private health infrastructure with worldclass doctors and facilities. iii. Growing international awareness about the high quality-low cost value proposition that India offers.

Dhamija: India has the best research and development because of its substantial population.

How are you promoting tourism to the world. What more needs to be done?

Sibal: The Apollo Hospitals Group has seven JCI accredited hospitals, the largest number by any corporate hospital group. Through ACE@25 our clinical scorecard, we have been able to consistently show outcomes comparable to the best in the west. Our experienced clinicians, latest technology, the tender loving care that we provide to all our patients and our low cost model with costs 1/10 of that of the U.S., helps us promote our services overseas.

Dhamija: Copy some of the things being done by Dubai and Singapore on the back of their world-class airlines.








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