Traveling has been part of the human life. History records many kinds of travelers, traveling for learning, traveling for discovering new land, traveling for leisure etc.
With the advent of modern transport, telecommunication, exciting facilities in boarding and lodging, the travel interest has grown very high that it has become an industry by itself.
The travel and tourism industry through out the world has coordinated and helped man to travel for various activities. Medical tourism is one such activity which has brought a new dimension to health care.
In the initial stages of medical tourism, the main focus was to go to a place where better treatment facilities are available. This was mostly to Western countries where referral allopathic health care institutes reign supreme.
The fast developments in the allopathic health care industry in the developing countries has resulted in replicating the same standards of the west and offering the same at irresistibly lower rates. This has brought in a change the Global Medical tourism scenario.
India has always been acknowledged as a growing contender to the West in many spheres. The advancements have been excellent in Health care and so Kerala has moved into the list of Prime Destinations for Medical Tourism.
At the same time, many South East Asian Countries like Singapore, Thailand, etc have also worked hard to give stiff competition to Kerala. So to sustain this global recognition as a country for Medical tourism, Kerala has to include many other USPs into its service package for Medical tourism.
For this it is better to analyze what is the expectation of a global medical tourist.
- Medical Tourist wants a health care which is not available in his place.
- Wants the same health care that is available in his country at a much lower cost in the country of Medical Tourism.
- Wants to have the health care in a place that provides other holistic support for betterment of health.
- Wants an opportunity to also see and experience (tour& travel) the place of visit.
- Wants in addition to eco friendly surroundings, telecommunication and transport facilities of good standard.
- Limited problems in communication.
- Hygiene and cleanliness in the place of stay.
- The total cost of the visit which includes the treatments and also the other activities well within an economical limit.
The Medical Tourism Industry in Kerala has already geared up to meet all these requirements. In India, Kerala is found to very potential because of additional features.
The State has the best of Nature that is attractive for all kinds of Medical Tourists. The high literacy rate ensures better communications skills. The advancements in telecommunications are fully available through out the State. The whole of Kerala is well connected by Road, Rail and by Air. The general hygiene and cleanliness are much better than other developing countries.
The cost of visit is definitely economical and much lower to many other countries. Kerala offers additional experience through verities of cultural Art forms, festivals, practice of traditional sciences, enchanting Nature in the form of beeches, mountains, valleys and rivers.
The most important unique contribution of Kerala is the Ayurvedic Health Care. With this great health science, Kerala caters not only to patients with chronic problems but also to a healthy tourist who wish to have a package of wellness combined with leisure and travel.
The wellness packages have been beautifully marketed and perfected by many resorts in Kerala. But what is not properly tapped is the Medical Tourism involving Ayurveda treatment for chronically ill patients.
It is the inherent strength of Ayurveda that it can offer positive improvement in almost all kinds of ailments. Even those health problems which are stubborn to the Allopathic treatment are found to respond to Ayurvedic treatment with concrete results.
Ayurveda is found to be the choice among all natural therapies to manage effectively all the above mentioned health problems of the 21st century man. Hence there is a great Medical Tourism potential for Kerala, provided the Ayurvedic healthcare is properly promoted and practiced.
At the same time the care should be taken to see that there is no dilution in the clinical management of the patient since this is the main back gone of Medical Tourism.
Additional support in the form of counseling and consultations may have to be provided to fix the guidelines for life style corrections and dietary modifications suitable for the country from where the patients come.
The most important aspect is the communication with the patient from the time of enquiry, for securing the Medical history, preparing the patient to the new experience of Kerala Ayurveda and also for a continuous follow up with appropriate Medical directions till the patient is Ayurvedically cured.
Since the Medical Tourists are from different countries with different styles of communication expertise need to be developed in all Ayurveda centers to become adepts in communication. This does not mean that they have to learn all the languages. What is important is to develop the skill to listen and understand the need of the Medical Tourist.
At present the Medical Tourism flow is mostly from Middle East, Germany, Italy, and Russia and in a limited way from other European countries. As patients seeking alternative health care is in large numbers through out the Globe, the Medical Tourism institutions have to consistently explore and tap the potential customers in these new countries.
Kerala has the right Ayurveda Hospitals, Resorts, qualified Health Care Professionals, availability of efficacious formulations, traditional back ground, and a healing atmosphere, all at a highly economical rates. This is the U.S.P of Kerala in addition to other factors to become one of the most sought after destinations for Medical Tourism.