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Medical Tourism May Take a Hit

by Preetu Nair ,  redOrbit | 2008-09-21

PANAJI: Hospitals in Goa engaged in medical tourism forsee a 50% fall in arrival of foreigners this season. Alarmed by initial trends, some hospitals are planning new schemes to attract walk-in foreign tourists.

"We expect a 50% decline among foreign tourists who come for dental, cosmetic or bariatic treatment to Goa. Generally during the tourist season, about 10 rooms are booked by foreigners, but the quantum is expected to be less this season," said Victor Albuquerque, pioneer in medical tourism in Goa.

There's been a steep decline in bookings by foreign patients at Albuquerque's Margao hospital, Apollo Victor. From some 200 bookings by foreigners last year, the number has decreased to 20 this year. "We were expecting a 25% increase in foreign patients and had even tied up with hospitals in UK, but due to the global meltdown and Goa's image sliding from bad to worse, there has been a drastic decline in the number of patients this season," said Albuquerque.

Most hospitals in Goa offering cosmetic surgery were expecting an increase of about 25% to 50% of foreign patients this year. "The bookings are low this season even though we were expecting a higher turnout. We just hope there's no decline in walk-in foreign tourists this season," said Dr Digambar Naik of Vrundavan hospital, Mapusa.

Interestingly, to attract walk-in foreign tourists, Goan hospitals are now planning new schemes. Said Selvio Fernandes, marketing manager, Campal Clinic, "We are also not far from introducing attractive schemes as it is the need of the hour. However, we have yet to decide on what to offer to our international clients."

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