Kerala offers a huge scope in Medical Value Tourism (MVT) as the State is the safest place during Covid times with only 0.36 per cent mortality rate, Health Minister KK Shailja has said.

Kerala’s demographic features can attract more foreign tourists and its expertise in indigenous medicine can play a vital role to woo travellers, she said at the 9th edition of Kerala Health Tourism programme organised by CII.

She also suggested development of more Ayurveda medicine production centres with modern standards and quality. More quality and affordable treatments should be made available and the common people should also benefit from tourism.

Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII-Kerala, stressed on the importance and value of promoting MVT. The hospital industry in India — accounting for 80 per cent of the total healthcare market — is witnessing a huge investor demand from both global as well as domestic investors. According to Invest India report, the hospital industry is expected to reach $132 billion by 2023 from $61.8 billion in 2017; growing at a CAGR of 16-17 per cent.

The medical tourism segment of Kerala’s tourism industry is proliferating at a faster pace and has become an excellent brand by itself in the health tourism sector. This is because of its repute in modern as well as traditional systems of treatment like Ayurveda, homoeopathy or its cost effectiveness. The quality of healthcare offered by the doctors, nurses and support staff, make medical tourism in Kerala a preferred choice of patients seeking healthcare solutions in India, he said.

Vishwas Mehta, Chief Secretary, observed that the longest stay by tourists travelling to India was in Kerala and the reasons for that could be health tourism, leisure and recreation. In health tourism, the number of days of stay is more and this is an advantage which can be used to promote leisure tourism of the State.

Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare, suggested the State should focus and attract people for Illness Tourism in India. Telemedicine consultation, which is now popular after Covid, can be utilised to monitor patients after treatment and this has to be utilised to medical tourist.

The conference witnessed participation of delegates from 42 countries from the field of health-oriented tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitation and curative forms of travel.