Leading health experts on Tuesday said that Gujarat had the potential to emerge as a healthcare hub, but also added that a lot of work still needs to be done on that front to translate it into a reality.
“Gujarat, one of the leading states in India, has all the makings to emerge as a popular medical tourism hub,” said leading medical tourism consultant, Prem Jagyasi, talking on the sidelines of the healthcare seminar at PDPU, Gandhinagar. However, he added, for this to happen the state needs to improve the medical facilities and also develop supporting infrastructure.
Speaking at the seminar, the CEO of Jupiter Hospital in Thane, Ajay Thakkar said, “Gujarat is uniquely positioned and can attract both international and domestic medical tourists. The fact that a large number of Indian expatriates are Gujaratis can benefit the state in becoming a medical tourism hub.”
If Singapore and Thailand could attract a million medical tourists every year, Gujarat had the potential to get two million medical tourisms in 10 years from now, said state health minister Jaynarayan Vyas.
“The state government is taking several steps to promote medical tourism. Large investments are being made into healthcare sector, and more money will be pumped into the sector,” Vyas said.
The health tourism sector will make bigger contribution to the state’s GDP than industry by 2025, he added, calling upon the participants to tap the vast potential in the state’s healthcare sector.
During the seminar, the participants deliberated on trends like setting up of Medicities, alternative financing in healthcare, healthcare education and setting up of new projects through Public Private Partnership model.
While the experts were enthusiastic about Gujarat’s prospects at emerging as a healthcare hub, they however, said that a lot of countries were vying for the medical tourism pie, and Gujarat would have to do a lot of work for becoming a player to reckon with in the field.
“The state needs to work on strengthening the medical infrastructure if it has to attract medical tourists,” said Marwan Abdulaziz, director, business development, Dubai Healthcity.
Consultant Jagyasi, said, “Medical tourism is not just about low costs, there are also other factors that decide where a particular patient travels to. So there is a need to work on high quality healthcare, perception of the destination and develop tourism benefits. The government must also ensure that the healthcare system remains available, affordable and accessible.”