'City of the Young' Part IV: Developing Mangaluru as Medical Tourism Destination

June 27, 2017

"Mangaluru has one of the best quality of life in Asia. It has been ranked best in India and 2nd best in Asia for quality of life and 12th in the global list for healthcare. It is the only city from India to appear in top 50."

This is how Wikipedia introduces Mangaluru. Predictably, European cities dominate the top rankings, and it is a great honor that Mangaluru is in the top league for healthcare. This has been made possible by all the healthcare professionals, medical colleges, nursing colleges and para- medical colleges functioning in and around Mangaluru. That we could match up to the European standards, and get a coveted ranking is a wonderful tribute to the professional excellence, industriousness, and commitment of Mangaluru’s doctors, nurses and associated staff. What is more creditable is the fact that while European hospitals would be charging a whopping amount, our hospitals in Mangaluru do it for a fraction of that amount. This opens up a new avenue for Mangaluru – Medical Tourism.

Medical tourism has developed into a major industry in many third world countries because of affordable medical care. The prohibitive cost of medical treatment in US A. and other Western countries, has forced the common man there to search for alternative locations. Many third world countries including China have developed Medical Tourism Hotspots to give efficient and excellent healthcare on par with world standards. China is setting up a 23 billion Yuan investment in the tropical island of Hainan, known for its beach front resorts, for developing a medical tourism facility.

They have enlisted Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, as adviser. The Chinese government has set up a Hainan Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone, to oversee the establishment of 23 hospitals including plastic surgery clinics. By 2025 they want to attract one million tourists a year on health related visits.

The Medical Tourism Market Report 2015 found that India was "one of the lowest cost and highest quality of all medical tourism destinations, it offers a wide variety of procedures at about one tenth the cost of similar procedures in the United States." It costs about US $ 1,650 to conduct a Cataract operation in US A., whereas the same can be performed for a fraction of that amount in Mangaluru.

According to a CII-Grant Thornton white paper, India’s medical tourism market is expected to more than double to around $8 billion by 2020.

As stated above "Mangaluru is a recognized tourist destination, in terms of quality of life it is ranked best in India and 2nd best in Asia for quality of life, and 12th in the global list for healthcare" - but what is our position as a medical tourism destination? CII-Grant Thornton report 2015 states that the city of Chennai is "India’s health capital". Multi and super specialty hospitals in Chennai managed to attract about 150 international patients every day!

Average revenue per medical tourist is US $15,000. Average revenue per inpatient stay is around US $ 1,700. In 2016, citizens of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Republic of Korea and Nigeria availed the maximum medical visas, to visit India.

CII-Grant Thornton report also states that Bangladeshis and Afghans accounted for 34% of foreign patients, Russia and the CIS countries accounted for 30% share of foreign medical tourist arrivals. Other major sources of patients include Africa and Middle East. Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and the National Capital Region received the highest number of foreign tourists. Where is Mangaluru? Despite being ranked as best for quality of life in India, 2nd best in Asia for quality of life, and 12th in the global list for healthcare, Mangaluru is not favored as a medical tourism destination!

Top 5 hospitals in India are:

1. Apollo Hospitals
2. Fortis Hospital
3. Narayana Health
4. Manipal Hospitals
5. Max Health Care

Treatments sought for are in elective cosmetic surgery, dentistry, organ transplantation, cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery, surrogate pregnancy, in-vitro fertilization, and other assisted reproductive technology methods. Non availability of certain medical procedures in some countries on account of law and religious injunctions is also a reason for medical tourism.

Mangaluru needs to be aggressively projected and marketed as the best medical tourism destination for domestic and international patients. We need a medical lobby to actively canvass our plus points. More important, we need collaborations with top insurance firms, if we are serious about medical tourism. Wockhardt Hospitals has tied up with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest provider of healthcare insurance in USA. It has collaborated with Harvard Medical International Inc, USA.

Apollo Hospitals has tied up with insurers like BUPA (UK), Vanbreda (Belgium), and Mondial (France). It has a joint venture with Singapore based Parkway Group Healthcare.

Max Healthcare has collaborated with Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.

Fortis Healthcare has collaborated with Partners Healthcare System, USA.

Birla Heart & Research Center has collaborated with Cleveland Clinic Foundation, US A.

Collaborations are the only way forward to become a recognized medical tourism hot spot. By simply upgrading our post operative care standards to match European benchmarks, we can steal a march over all the other hospitals in India. Scrupulous high standards of hygiene, spick and span staff, exotic hospital ambience, can be developed to attract an upscale audience. To meet the unique needs of an international segment, we need a dedicated cadre of interpreters, providing individualized care in a caring and healing environment. Hospitals around the world have added facilities like concierge service, beautifully-plated meals, personalized tablet with Wi-Fi access and ensuite bathroom complete with premium toiletries, to attract the uber-rich. Delhi’s new-age hospitals have recruits from the hospitality industry and air hostess academies to guide patients.

Deluxe healthcare has been made into a lifestyle trend with 24 hour coffee shops, waiting lounges, bookshops, florists and business centers. Platinum lounges have been set up for foreign patients fitted with wooden flooring, potted plants and leather couches. Hospital rooms comprise a sitting room, a pantry with a microwave and toaster, granite and chrome bathrooms and bedrooms with TV sets and exclusive nursing staff. Mangaluru needs such type of new age hospitals to attract foreign clientele. The Indian medical tourism industry is pegged at $ 1 billion per annum, growing at around 18 per cent, according to India Brand Equity Foundation. Mangaluru also needs to take a slice of this cake. Expert medical care in a luxurious setting is needed to attract patients from across the globe.

Many countries have devised their own medical specialties, Hawaii is renowned for the non-invasive neurosurgery and eyelid surgery, Brazil boasts of cosmetic surgery, and is the place to go for tummy tucks, breast implants, rhinoplasty, and face lifts, Mexico specializes in dental procedures and weight loss treatments. Neighboring Malaysia welcomes 700,000 international patients each year, centrally located in Kuala Lumpur is the Prince Court Medical Center which takes pride in its sophisticated burn unit and in-vitro fertility department. Singapore is famous for its top notch Cancer treatment. Thailand has made its mark for cosmetic surgery and sex change operations. When compared to all these destinations India offers cheaper and quality medical treatment.

There is a great market evolving for high end hospital treatment coupled with opulent hospitality and a dash of local tourism. It is also the duty of the City Corporation to ensure that the city retains its pristine old world charm. The vast expatriate Mangaluru population spread across Europe, USA, Canada and Middle East can be leveraged to campaign for Mangaluru as a choice venue for affordable and excellent medical tourism.



Dr G ShreeKumar Menon Archives:


By Dr G ShreeKumar Menon, IRS (Rtd), PhD (Narcotics)
Former Director General
National Academy of Customs Excise and Narcotics,
& Multi Disciplinary School Of Economic Intelligence, India
Fellow, James Martin Center For Non Proliferation Studies, USA
Public Administration, Maxwell School of Public Administration, Syracuse University, USA
AOTS Scholar, Japan
Registrar, Yenepoya University, Mangaluru
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Comment on this article

  • David Samuel, Dublin, Ireland

    Wed, Apr 15 2020

    Dear Manager,

    After a Successful conference in 2017, we are hosting the “4th World Congress on Diabetes and Obesity” (Diabetes Conference 2020) along with external scientific association with the academicians, researches, and senior executives of Endocrinology Department and Medical device industries around the globe, scheduled to be held during May 25-26, 2020 at Dublin, Ireland. With the main theme as “Recent advances in Diabetes and Obesity”. The scientific-program of Diabetes Conference 2020 is a rich mix of Interactive Sessions & Sub-sessions, keynote lectures, panel discussions, poster competitions and Young Researcher Forum. The conference program will feature well-known and thought provoking speakers to interactive discussion sessions.

    As you are one of the prominent name in organizing academic and business tours, So we like to collaborate with you as our Travelling Partner to gather people throughout the globe to be a part of our esteemed conference and make it success. We accept participants on registration basis. So kindly send us your thoughts to discuss further on this partnership

    **Group Discounts Available**

    Thanks & Regards
    David Samuel | Conference Manager
    Diabetes Conference 2020
    40 Bloomsbury Way
    London, United Kingdom
    WC1A 2SE.
    Email : diabetesconference@euroconferences.net

  • Padmakumar S, Mangaluru

    Wed, Jun 28 2017

    Motivating article for the health care providers in Mangaluru. Good job Sir.

  • Prashanth, USA

    Wed, Jun 28 2017

    Having recently visited mangalore and used medical services, I can vouch that Mangalore has some of th best Doctors. Medical tourism is like a symphony ... all instruments have to play in Harmony. Mangalore lacks the basic infrastructure to attract people from around the world. The roads are a mess, ambulances get stuck in the traffic, there are no laws to prioritize EMS.

    With that said improvements can always be made by making people take ownership for their hometown. The basic focus should be roads, water and cleanliness, tourism will follow

  • Dr.Phirdose, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    You hit the bull's eye ,Sir ! Mangalore is the most appropriate place to promote medical tourism in n India . If the government is ready to spend a little towards this goal , it promises great returns . We already have foreign patients coming in for quality healthcare at low cost ..there is a need to promote Mangalore more aggressively . Tie up with insurance firms ..great idea, Sir !

  • vincent rodrigues, bangaluru/Katapadi

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    Good idea because city has top hospitals and renowned for medical attendance since a long time

  • Sudhi, Byndoor

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    If mglr is amongst top two hospital then imagine conditions of low ranked hospitals

  • Flavian dsouza, chik/bengaluru

    Tue, Jun 27 2017

    Medical toursim and banking but banking we are slowly losing that edge !!!Hope all senior bankers come up with a plan so it will help our youth get jobs across the globe in banking

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Title: 'City of the Young' Part IV: Developing Mangaluru as Medical Tourism Destination

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