The inaugural function of the 55th Annual Conference of Indian Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons (IACTS) at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convocation Centre (SKICC) took place from May 14-17, 2009 in Srinagar. Doctors from Spain also attended the conference. At the conference leading doctors of Kashmir valley said that the state possesses huge potential for Medical Tourism because of the cheap cost and availability of experienced doctors. According to an ANI report by Bilal Butt, senior cardiologists of Kashmir revealed that cardiac surgery in Kashmir costs 80 per cent less than New Delhi, 95 per cent less than Europe and 98.5 per cent less than its cost in the United States.
The doctors explained that keeping the cost effectiveness in mind and the availability of modern expertise and resource, the state has a great potential to tap the opportunity and develop as a Medical Tourism hub. While speaking on the occasion NN Vohra, Governor, Jammu and Kashmir emphasised on the need for developing Medical Tourism as it will be highly beneficial monetarily for the state. “Meckinze study which said that in another two to three years by 2012, if the rate of Medical Tourism proceeds at the current level of growth, then we will be earning anything between two billion dollars to 2.5 billion dollars every year,” said Vohra.
Doctors further said that the other areas that can be promoted for Medical Tourism in the state were neurology, plastic surgery, hematology, rheumatology and other related areas in cardiology like angiography and angioplasty. Doctors hoped that the conference helps in giving an impetus to Medical Tourism that will help the state and bring the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on the medical map of the world.