March 18, 2023: With offerings like Yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha, Naturopathy and dozens of institutions accredited to the National Board for Accreditation of Hospitals and Healthcare Services (NABH) and the Ayush ministry, India is well positioned to harness wellness tourism – and bid for a good chunk of the global Wellness Tourism Market.
A recent market report from InsightAce Analytic Pvt.Ltd., estimates that the global opportunity could reach US$ 1974.18 billion by 2031, up from $838.78 billion in 2022.
"Wellness tourism" refers to travel experiences that enhance and improve one's physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Tourists delight in physical, spiritual, and cerebral pursuits by participating in yoga, spa treatments, Gymnastics, meditation, and trips to hot spring resorts.
The desire for wellness activities at well-known tourism locations is rising as more individuals become health conscious. (Report details here)
Another report from FACT.MR puts the wellness tourism market size in 2031 even higher – at US$ 2.3 billion. It points at a rise in lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, and obesity due to hectic work schedules and sedentary lifestyles as well as a rise in in psychiatric disorders such as stress, anxiety, and frustration led to chronic health-related illnesses such as cancer and depression. Due to the increasing awareness regarding mental and physical health, people across the globe want to take measures to prevent the emergence of diseases.
The report adds: “The surge in the popularity of exotic locations in countries such as India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore is expected to boost the growth of the wellness tourism market. Also, a rise in the number of hotel chains with centres that offer massages has been witnessed in the last decade. A rise in herbal treatments and rejuvenation programmes is expected to boost the market growth in the region.”
The Indian economy could add an additional $9 billion by 2026 with the use of traditional medicine, wellness, therapeutic use of Ayurveda, yoga and wellness, suggests Rupak Barua, CEO, AMRI Hospitals Kolkata, writing in Hindu Businessline last week. But since India is amongst the most preferred destinations, there is a need for more policy support to facilitate medical value travel to India, suggests the author.
Govt. help for wellness tourism
The Indian government has put in place special schemes to promote wellness and medical tourism.
Th Ministry of Tourism has drafted guideline for wellness tourism. They address issues regarding making available quality publicity material, training and capacity building for the service providers, participation in international & domestic wellness related events, etc.
The Ministry has also extended its Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to wellness tourism service providers including accredited wellness centres. Presently the wellness centres accredited by State Tourism Departments are also eligible for the MDA. After the accreditation guidelines of NABH is in place, all wellness centres seeking MDA would be asked to be as close to the accreditation guidelines of NABH as possible.
According to the Ministry’s page on Wellness Tourism, India has an advantage as a medical tourism destination: - -- Most of the doctors and surgeons at Indian hospitals are trained or have worked at some of the medical institutions in the US, Europe, or other developed nations.
- Most doctors and nurses are fluent in English.
- Top -of-the-line medical and diagnostic equipment from global international conglomerates is available at many Indian hospitals.
- Indian nurses are among the best in the world. Nearly 1000 recognized nurses-training centres in India, graduate nearly 10,000 nurses annually.
Top wellness destinations in India:
What 2023 looks like for the Wellness Tourism in India