Short-term impact likely for medical tourism: Wockhardt

by PTI ,  The Hindu Business Line | 2008-12-14

The country's growing medical tourism industry would definitely be adversely impacted in the short-term, a leading healthcare industry official said.

“A day after the terrorists attacks in Mumbai, we got calls from US patients asking whether it was safe to travel to Bangalore. We assured them of safety and many came in,” Wockhardt Hospitals CEO, Mr Vishal Bali said here.

“Though there is some fear in the minds of foreigners, they also have a lot of confidence in our country. I expect only a short-term impact,” Mr Bali said.

The terrorist carnage began on November 26 and lasted for over three days resulting in nearly 200 dead and massive damages to two of the city's leading five-star hotels.

Quoting figures from a recent Deloitte study, Bali said healthcare is an $60-billion opportunity globally. In India, the market was clocking a healthy growth with medical tourism expected to touch USD 1.5-2-billion by 2010, he said.

Last year, India received 4.5-lakh international patients, a tad higher than Singapore at 4.2-lakh in the same period.

“A new world is emerging for healthcare,” he said.

Wockhardt Hospitals, a leading player in the medical tourism space, was considering raising funds through the private equity route, Mr Bali said.

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