Visas need to be issued faster, and infrastructure upgraded to international standards for India to tap the $700 million medical tourism market, which it stands to lose to Singapore, experts say.
\"Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Middle East and Africa, especially Nigeria, Ethiopia and Sudan are the biggest markets for India for medical tourism,\" Indian Clinical Research Institute (ICRI) CEO Rajiv Verma said.
As far as Bangladesh is concerned, which constitutes 50 per cent of the medical tourism market for India, the issue is the \'MVisas\' (medical category visas).
\"It takes 15 days to get MVisas here whereas in Singapore, you get it overnight. We are losing a number of Bangladeshi medical tourists to Singapore because of this, despite scoring high in quality and affordability,\" Verma said.
The other overriding factor is \"good roads and more number of airports of international calibre which we need to develop,\" he said.
Above all, the government needs to play a pivotal role in promoting India as an attractive medical tourist destination, just the way Singapore Tourism Board does, Verma said.