The Centre is taking all steps to make the Indian health tourism industry globally competitive. The foremost in the agenda is to bring down the cost of healthcare in the country, Union Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi has said.

Health tourism is gaining momentum in developing countries. It is the provision of cost-effective private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients needing surgical and other forms of specialized treatment, he said in his valedictory address at the international conference on Health Tourism 2013 organised by KSIDC and CII here.

The idea of health tourism is slowly but surely generating interest all across the world. With rising medical cost and high degree of sophisticated practices, the Minister said that people are looking and exploring various economic options and alternatives.

In this context, the idea of health tourism is a welcome suggestion, he said adding, the whole thought behind merging health treatment with and recuperation with a family holiday at much affordable prices, sounds like too good an opportunity to miss.

Quoting a McKinsey study commissioned by the CII, the Minister said that the health tourism industry in India could become a $ 5 billion business by 2015. With the finest and experienced specialists and technological edge along with latest equipment and state-of-the-art infrastructure, Indian healthcare is synonymous with safety, trust and excellence.

For instance, death rate for coronary bypass patients in India is 0.8 per cent and the infection rate is 0.3 per cent compared to the first world averages of 1.2 per cent and 1 per cent respectively. This statistics auger well for the health care industry in the country, he said.