Medical tourism, a booming sector in the global healthcare industry, refers to the trend of patients traveling across international borders to seek medical treatment. India has emerged as a preferred destination for medical tourists, particularly from Bangladesh, Maldives, Afghanistan and Iraq, given its advanced medical facilities, skilled professionals, and cost-effective treatments.
The year 2021 saw a significant influx of medical tourists from the Arab nations to India according the data released by Ministry of Tourism, government of India. Total 47,884 tourists from Arab countries visited India in 2021, and out of these, 32,801 were medical tourists. This means that a significant 68.5% of the total Arab tourists visited primarily for medical reasons. In comparison, of the 1,527,114 foreign tourists visiting India in the same year, only 323,748, or 21.2%, were medical tourists. This stark difference highlights the weight of medical tourism within the Arab countries' outbound tourism to India.
Iraq as the leading country from the Arab region in terms of medical tourist arrivals to India. Out of the 16,213 Iraqi tourists who visited India, a staggering 15,354 sought medical treatments, translating to 94.7% of the total. This percentage is remarkably high and indicates a profound reliance on India for medical needs among Iraqis.
While Iraq tops the list, Oman and Yemen aren't far behind. Out of 10,174 Omani visitors to India, 7,610 opted for medical treatments, making it 74.8% of the total Omani tourists. Similarly, Yemen saw 6,235 of its citizens traveling to India, out of which 4,614 came for medical reasons, contributing to 74% of the total.
Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also contributed to the medical tourist statistics but with a lesser percentage compared to the top three. 57.6% of Sudanese tourists sought medical treatment, while only 18.9% of tourists from the UAE had medical intentions behind their visit.
Furthermore, while the Arab countries contribute to only 3.13% of the total foreign tourists arriving in India, they account for a commendable 10.13% of the medical tourists. This underscores the significant role the Arab nations play in bolstering India's medical tourism sector.