Dubai: India’s Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) delegation is in Dubai to woo medical tourists from the Gulf.

“The Indian government has recognised the fact that India has a huge potential for providing the best services to patients who need health care from other countries,” said the SEPC’s chairman, Naresh Trehan, at the International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference (IMTEC) in Dubai on Sunday.

The region accounts for around 8 per cent of the total number of medical tourists to India, he said, with the UAE representing five per cent.

India’s medical tourism market is expected to grow to $8 billion (Dh29 billion) in the next four years, according to a statement from the SEPC, citing data from recent medical industry reports. Globally, the medical value travel is projected to increase to $32.5 billion over the next five years.

India offers medical treatments that are not available in the Gulf, and at a lower cost, Trehan said. “If you need a liver transplant, a kidney transplant, a bone-marrow transplant or complex neurosurgery … they can only be done there and not … in the UAE and Gulf region.”


For instance, a complex heart surgery in India costs between $7,000 and $8,000. In the UAE, it’s priced between $15,000 and $20,000, he said. “We have very good technology … we have robotics for heart surgery, kidney transplant and liver transplant,” he added.

The Indian government is “improving its visa services”, said Anurag Bhushan, Consul General of India.

“Almost 150 countries are offering electronic tourist visas, which means people can apply electronically without having to come to the consulate. We have also increased the [visa] duration, specifically for the UAE,” he said.

IMTEC attracted international hospital groups, medical travel organisations and health service companies. This year, the Indian pavilion hosted more than 10 hospitals and associations from India, including Medanta -The Medicity, Apollo Hospitals, Max Healthcare, Renai Medicity, Manipal Hospitals, and Yoshoda Hospitals and Research Centre.