11 April 2009
By Nirbhay Kumar
New Delhi, India
The ministry is in advance discussion with all major hospital chains such as Apollo, Manipal, Moolchand, Fortis and Wockhardt to offer the complementary treatment.
“Now, foreign medical tourists would be offered one additional treatment for free. Almost all major hospitals have expressed their interest in partnering with us,” tourism secretary Sujit Banerjee told ET.
As per the plan, medical tourists coming for a surgery or any other major treatment in the country would be offered a smaller additional treatment for free. For example, a patient coming for a bypass surgery could be offered a complementary skin treatment or something similar according to the patient’s preference.
Foreign tourist arrivals in the country has been hit hard by the recessionary trend all across the world. The number of foreign tourists visiting India has been in the negative territory since November last year. Tourist arrivals picked up slightly in February, thanks to various promotional schemes launched by the government along with airlines, tour operators and hoteliers.
Under the existing promotional scheme, a companion of a foreign tourist gets free air passage provided they fly with Jet Airways, Kingfisher and Air India. The tour package also provides extended stay in hotels across the country and complimentary sightseeing tours to rural eco–holiday destinations. The tourism ministry has also roped in spa centre operators into the scheme. The measures are part of the government’s ‘Visit India 2009’ plan. The bookings under the proposed scheme beginning this month will continue till the end of the year.
The tourism ministry has set a target of doubling the number of foreign tourists arrivals to the country by the end of 2010. It has launched road shows in various source countries such as the US, the UK, Canada and Australia to increase the number of visitors.