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Medical Tourism in India: ‘Heal in India’ gets a boost with ‘Ayush Visa’ initiative

Kavita Sharma

Ayush Visa: Medical tourism is one such sector which has witnessed an unprecedented surge post the Covid 19 pandemic. According to a data released in April this year, there has been a jump of almost 60 % foreign tourist coming to India for medical treatment since 2020.

With government of India’s new initiative of ‘Ayush Visa’ which literally can be translated as ‘medical visa’ the country can expect to enhance its ranking in medical tourism index further. Medical tourism is one industry which has constantly see an upgrade as the arrival of foreign tourists for medical purposes increased from 1.83 lakh in 2020 to 3.04 lakh in 2022. India ranked 10th in medical tourism index in the year 2020.

What is Ayush Visa

‘Ayush Visa’ is a special category of visa that allows foreign nationals to avail the traditional Indian medicine system in India. Ayush Visa, an initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs, will aims at facilitating foreign nationals who are interested in medical treatment including therapeutic care, wellness and especially Yoga during their stay in India.

With the introduction of this ‘special visa scheme’ for foreigners the medical tourism will also boost in India, Union Minister of Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal said at its launch this month. It will also strengthen their endeavour of making Indian traditional medicine a worldwide phenomenon.

Every year hundreds of patients from neighbouring countries come to India for medical treatments, organ transplants etc. for which they have to stay in India for a longer time. In the year 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the need of this special visa system for foreign nationals under the ‘Heal in India’ initiative. After which the Ministry of Health and family welfare and Ministry of Ayush jointly worked on it to develop one stop Heal in India portal for foreigners. The initiative aims at promoting medical tourism in the country.

‘Heal In India’ programme gets a boost with Ayush Visa

It is a global initiative of the Health Ministry which aims to promote India as a global leader in Health sector and encourage medical tourism in India. This program is based on the Indian Philosophy of ‘Seva’, i.e care.

‘Heal in India’ has a digital portal that helps the international patients plan their medical journey in India. It also provides them with information of the nearest healthcare facilities during their stay in India.

According to a report, ‘The Global Wellness economy, looking beyond COVID’, by the Global Wellness Institute, the Global wellness Economy will grow to $70 billion by 2025, with a tremendous growth in Medical value Travel. For this a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently signed with India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and Ministry of Tourism (GOI).

As we all know that India has a rich history of traditional way of medical treatment. Ayurveda stands to be the most ancient, most widely accepted, practised and flourished indigenous system of medicine. The other systems of traditional medicine are yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy. Yoga which has its roots in India has also emerged as the most popular exercise form of treatment not only in India but worldwide.

According to the International Yoga Federation around 300 million people practice yoga globally, with 36 million in US alone. Yoga tourism is also growing fast. We have certified yoga teachers in Indonesia, Thailand, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Europe. The practice of Yoga is a well established form of spiritual and physical exercise in Spain and Bali.

The Ayush Visa can prove to be a game changer for Indian tourism which is looking at boosting its footprints post covid 19 besides enhancing the niche sector of medical tourism.

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