Medical Tourism Medical Tourism 35>> 34>> Travel agents to be facilitators in medical tourism IN INDIA Travel agents play an important role in medical tourism. © Manipal Hospitals IRENE SUSAN EAPEN © Columbia Asia Hospitals Renu Varghese, General Manage Ramada Encore Bangalore Domlur Singapore and Bangalore offers the best quality of hospitals and the success rate in medical tourism is very high. I Vinay KauL Vice President Sales and Marketing Columbia Asia Hospital The international medical tourists contributes 10-12% of revenue andin-house team assists the patient through all formalities and services. Voyager’s World > October 2014 ndia is one of the medical tourism destinations in Asia with cost effective quality treatments, the number of specialists for various treatments that includes Ayurveda and Yoga. According to the FICCI-KPMG Report 2014 on Medical Value Travel, the Indian medical tourism market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 27 per cent to reach USD3.9 billion in 2014, from USD1.9 billion in 2011 with inflow of medical tourists expected to cross 320 million by 2015 compared to 85 million in 2012. The percentage of occupancy of medical tourists in hospitals and hotels have been increasing especially in large hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, Columbia Asia Hospital and, Manipal Health Enterprises, India. The average stays of the medical tourists are generally on the treatments one has to undergo for 2-3 weeks while the stay can be extended to months. Although the travel agents are well connected and are an important part of medical tourism. The travel agents specializing in medical tourism are sometimes medical facilitators and also work closely with hospitals and hotels. Hospitals Percentage of Medical tourists Vinay Kaul, VP. Sales and Marketing, Columbia Asia Hospital says the international patient business contributes 10-12% of revenue at Columbia Asia Hospitals. Benny Charles Daniel Head, International Business, Manipal Health Enterprises, India states that people travelling from other countries with the primary purpose of medical tourism are considered to be 1%. The medical tourists and people travelling from other countries with primary purpose of medical treatment are 2022%. Average Stay Vinay explains that the average length of the patients stay depends on the cases and also on the severity of the medical problem. However, the average length of stay is 10 days that includes post-discharge stay. We have many patients for renal and liver transplantations, for such cases the approximate stay are 8 weeks at our hospitals. Benny says that an average duration of stay is 9 days and the number of persons per family per room while staying for treatments are Africa – 2, Middle East – 3, South East Asia – 2 and Oceania – 2. Vinay said that we work with medical tourism companies who may recommend their clients for medical treatment at our hospitals. We have an in-house team that assists the patient and their companion through all formalities and services. The services include the pick-up of the patient from the airport, treatment, post discharge arrangements, visa extensions, FRRO formalities and departure etc. “Manipal Hospitals is tied up with various accommodation options like luxury hotels, service apartments, guest houses, etc at preferential rates that we share with the patients for their convenience, we assist the patients in bookings as well as per their require- ments,” added Benny. Top five countries Vinay said: We receive patients from Africa, Middle East, SAARC region and have also treated many patients from the US, UK and Australia. In the opinion of Benny the top five countries in medical tourism are Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Oman Special fares at Hospitals Vinay says that we have created special packages at our hospitals for various treatment options like the special privileges for our International patients that include complimentary airport transfers and facilitation services, preference booking for hospitals rooms and guest house, in-room WIFI/ Internet access, hassle-free in-room in-patient registration to avoid waiting at the time of admission, frequent medical updates and video calls to family and friends back home, on patient’s written consent and request, language interpretation services, made to order cuisine, the cashless insurance facility with all the leading international insurance companies like BUPA International, Vanbreda, BCBS, Aetna, Axa Assistance, Cigna, etc. The convenient payment gateways, special discounted rates for pre-admission and post discharge stay at hospitals designated for guest house/hotel as per preference and budget. Benny explains the special fares towards accommodation options are food & beverage and translators, complementary services and for pre arrival. The Manipal Hospital International Patient Care center can assist one with cost approximations, information about out hospital, doctor’s opinion on treatment plan and the proposed duration of stay for any medical conditions. For visa assistance the Manipal International Patient care can assist the medical tourists with required documents from the hospital end to apply for the medical visa. The case coordinator can assist the medical tourists to schedule appointment with doctor in Manipal Hospital, prior to their arrival. “The Manipal International Patient Care has a series of hotels/ serviced apartments / guest houses / 5 star hotels on their preferred network to ensure that the patients and their relatives have a pleasant experience. The Manipal International Patient Care can arrange for the airport pickup facility (Either an ambulance / ICU Ambulance or a private vehicle) based on the patient’s medical condition as per the date of arrival. The Manipal International Patient Care has over 40 International insurance companies that can facilitate the International patient team with insurance so as to facilitate cash less treatment and offers language assistance services for over 30 languages,” he added. Hotels Occupancy of Medical Tourists Vineet Arora, Executive Vice President – Marketing & Sales ,Treehouse Hotels states that the Treehouse Queens Pearl, Business Hotel is located a very good proximity to hospitals in Gurgaon which is 2 Kms from the world renowned Medanta Medicity and 6 kms from Artemis Hospital with www.voyagersworld.in Medical Tourism Medical Tourism 37>> © Manipal Hospitals © Columbia Asia Hospitals 36>> Vineet Arora, Executive Vice President – Marketing & Sales, Treehouse Hotels C.K.Baljee, M.D Royal Orchid Hotels The Treehouse Queens Pearl, Business Hotel offers good proximity to hospitals in Gurgaon with about 15-17% of average occupancy from the medical tourism sector. The average percntage of medical tourism is 5% to 8% and the average duration of stay spans a week to 15 days. about 15-17% of average occupancy from the medical tourism sector. C.K.Baljee, Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels says the average occupancy is between 5% to 8% of medical tourists. In the opinion of Vinesh Gupta, General Manager, Moevenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore, India is one amongst 3 leading destinations for medical tourism in Asia. We have approximately 2-3% of our total occupancy from medical tourism with Bangalore emerging as one of the preferred cities for medical care in the country. Renu Varghese, General Manager, Ramada Encore Bangalore Domlur stated that we have 10% of our occupancy from Manipal and HCG hospitals. Arya Srini Rao, General Manager, Sterlings Mac Hotel says we have currently occupancy of around 15% of the guests while accompanying partners, relatives or friends who stay in the property. Duration of stay Vineet says that the minimum stay of guests taking treatments from Hospitals in Gurgaon stay one week with 2 to 3 members of the family who generally stay in each room. Arya Srini Rao,General Manager,The Sterling Mac Hotel The occupancy of medical tourism is around 15%, the average stay a week and a double occupancy per family. Voyager’s World > October 2014 The average duration of stay spans between a week to 15 days or more,” added C.K.Baljee In the opinion of Vinesh the average length of stay is 5 nights and above, however this varies as per nature of treatment. Arya said: The average stay of the guests are for a week and generally on double occupancy per family and depends on the treatment. Renu states that Ramada Encore Bangalore is extremely hygienic and known for cleanliness. We also have special services for medical tourists specified by the hospitals. We have had tourists coming from HCG Hospital for surgery and Manipal hospitals for aliments like cancer. The medical tourists are from Middle East and South Africa, the family stays for 3 to 4 months. “We get the bookings directly from the representatives from the hospitals and not sourced bookings from travel agents specializing in Medical Tourism, although we are definitely open in exploring this option,” added Vineet. Baljee says that we work very closely with hospitals. Travel Agents role in Medical Tourism Vinesh explains that we recognise the role of travel agents and travel desk implants play in ensuring tourists who travel for treatment have a fruitful trip and a seamless experience. We have extended special long staying guest packages designed specifically for this purpose which extends value add benefits such as lowest available rate for room, airport transfers etc. We believe the travel partners work with hotels to extend a seamless experience and genuine care of tourists, hence the primary focus remains value pricing that provides personalized care and efficient service. Arya says that we have tied up with a couple of agents who deal with medical tourism to get these clients and pay commission for the bookings. Renu said that we have been working with a couple of travel agents in Dubai and are also in direct contact with the Vinesh Gupta, General Manager, Moevenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore India is one amongst 3 leading destinations for Medical tourism in Asia, Bangalore emerges as one of the preferred cities for medical care in the country. The role of travel agents and travel desk ensures medical tourists a fruitful trip and a seamless experience. www.voyagersworld.in Medical Tourism 38>> Benny Charles Daniel Head International Business,Manipal Health Enterprises, India People travelling from other countries with the primary purpose of tourism are considered to be 1%. The medical tourists travelling from other countries with primary purpose of medical treatment are 20-22%. PRO’s of hospitals as per the proximity and the quality of the hotel. Top five countries Our tourists who take treatments at hospitals in Gurgaon are majorly from Afghanistan, Nigeria, Uzbekistan & Kenya, said Vineet. We have medical tourists coming from Africa, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, added Baljee. Vinesh says that we have noticed a trend that majority of travellers come from Middle East and United Kingdom. Arya states that the Middle East is the major clientele for our hotel(Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Saudi Arabia etc and at times we have some guests from European Union. Renu explains that Singapore and Bangalore has the best quality of hospitals. The success rate in medical tourism is very high. Special fares or benefits Vineet says, we have a special rate plan for Medical tourisms and also offer complimentary pickup & drop from and to the hospital. Our chefs are also trained to serve special food according to their need or preferences. We have special care of guests for medical treatment with diet menu recommended by doctor and also have rooms for the special people, “added Baljee. Vinesh said that we customize stay requirements taking into account specific dietary requirements, special rates for local transfers, extended checkout timings, special bed arrangements, planning housekeeping services as per guest’s routine etc. Arya states that we offer special packages to the accompanying family and relatives such as the meal plan will breakfast & dinner, half day sightseeing packages, special offer on Salon and Spa facilities etc. Renu explains that Ramada offers special diets for medical tourists and user friendly rooms, special assistance, single diet for all services. We have a 24 hr car in standby mode in case of any emergency throughout the year. Medical tourism doesn’t have a season as there is no Sunday and Saturday scenario. Occupancy of tourists According to the FICCI-KPMG Report 2014 on Medical Value Travel, the Global Medical Value Tourism (‘MVT’) is a USD 10.5 billion industry, rising at a CAGR of 17.9% and estimated to grow to USD 32.5 billion over the next 5 years. However, in-spite of inherent comparative and competitive strengths, India attracts less than 3 percent of medical tourism traffic. “The travel agents coordinate with various hospitals for the treatment and with various hotels for a comfortable and affordable stay of the medical tourists for post-operative care in any country. The travel agents are engaged in seamlessly managing the medical travelers’ treatment experience in hospitals and additionally offering sight-seeing and local travel arrangements for the patient, apart from the flight arrangements. The role could further extend to arranging doctor consultations, surgery appointments, and securely transferring medical reports like X-rays, MRIs, etc. to the foreign affiliates,” she said. Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Senior Director, FICCI, states that the hospitals in India are focusing strategically on increasing the percentage of occupancy by medical tourists, approximately 30-35 percent occupancy is estimated in large hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, etc, the localized hospitals such as Medanta Medicity in Gurgaon, Ruby Hall in Pune, Lilawati in Mumbai report an occupancy in the range of 15-20 percent. “The hotels and travel agents closely work in tandem with the hospitals since these hospitals have special foreign patients wing. The hospitals tie up with these travel agents, hotels and airlines to give a single window service to the medical travelers. It has also been observed that as a trend, hospitals and hotels also offer their agents a commission for bringing in business. Most well established hospitals and hotels have alliances with travel agents. This not only helps enhance the medical travelers’ experience by making it hassle free, but also helps hospitals and hotels gain business,” she added. “The average duration of stay for treatments in India depends on the type of treatment that the patient is availing, India’s strength in cardiology the treatment procedure includes 2-3 weeks as an optimal range. For treatment of diseases that need extensive therapy, the stay may extend to months, “she added. Travel Agents Facilitators Shobha says the travel agents specializing in niche medical tourism area is closely associated with both hospitals and hotels and also at times act as medical facilitators. The travel agents form an important part of the medical tourism industry and acts as the link between medical travelers and hospitals, hotels and airlines. The travel agents are globally well connected and also recognized by various countries’ tourism boards as valid travel agents. Voyager’s World > October 2014 Expected growth of Medical Tourism in India According to the FICCI-KPMG Report 2014 on Medical Value Travel, the Indian medical tourism market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 27 per cent to reach USD3.9 billion in 2014, from USD1.9 billion in 2011 with inflow of medical tourists expected to cross 320 million by 2015 compared to 85 million in 2012. India has a high value proposition in terms of cost effective quality healthcare, pool of specialists, no language problems and availability of alternate treatment options such as Ayurveda and Yoga. Top 10 countries in Medical Tourism The top 10 countries in medical tourism are Thailand, Mexico, USA, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Brazil, Turkey, Taiwan and Costa Rica.
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