Economy

Hospitals check into hotels as medical tourism booms

Anjana Chandramouly Swetha Kannan Bangalore/Chennai | Updated on November 15, 2017






The boom in medical tourism is encouraging hospitals and hoteliers to strike alliances with each other.

Industry estimates peg the market size of medical tourism in India, which is growing at over 25 per cent annually, at over $2.5 billion. The segment's growing business potential prompted the ITC group to set up the 58-room Fortune Park Lake City business hotel at the Jupiter LifeLine Hospitals complex in Thane, near Mumbai, to serve medical tourists.

Mr Suresh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, ITC's Fortune Park Hotels, says the hotel is a pilot project “to evaluate and explore avenues in medical tourism for the brand.” There are plans to launch similar projects in other cities.

A Bangalore-based hotelier says patients from a nearby hospital, with which there is a tie-up, account for 5 per cent of the hotel's monthly inventory. “There is a steady business from this avenue and we expect it to grow because they come at a higher ARR (average room rate),” says the hotelier, who did not want to be named.

It's a win-win for all. Though hospitals typically do not have any revenue-sharing model with hotels, the arrangement works well for hospitals as they get their rooms freed up for other patients, says Mr Saumyajit Roy, Associate Director – Strategic Consulting (Education, Healthcare and Senior Living), Jones Lang LaSalle India.

For instance, Fortis Hospitals has tie-ups with guest houses which ensure pick-up and drops for patients and their attendants who get special rates and discounts. “These guest houses are located close to the hospitals — they are functional, reliable and supportive of the needs of the patients and their attendants,” says Mr Anas Abdul Wajid, Head, Sales and International Business, Fortis Healthcare, whose revenue and volumes from foreign patients are growing at 40 per cent year-on-year.

Apollo Hospitals, too, explores similar tie-ups with neighbourhood hotels. Mr Jacob Jacob, Chief People Officer, Apollo Hospitals, says the hotel staff is familiar with the needs of patients and their families.

Adds Mr Roy: “It's not only patients from foreign countries. People in India who need long-term treatment also use this wellness eco-system.” Most international patients are from Africa, SAARC and West Asia. Patients requiring higher-end tertiary care are now coming to India for cardiology, orthopaedics, neurology, oncology and organ transplants. Affordability of treatment is a big woo factor — treatment in India costs just 10-20 per cent of what it costs abroad.

> anju@thehindu.co.in

> swethak@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 24, 2012

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