Collective Effort Needed to Tap Kerala’s MVT Potential


The medical tourism industry globally is expected to surpass $40 billion by 2020 and the Indian slice of the pie will touch $8 billion by then. Kerala has made rapid strides in the last few years in Medical Value Travel (MVT), thanks to ‘below the line’ concerted efforts of a dozen-odd private hospitals in God’s Own Country. The demand-supply gap in hospital facilities has been narrowed down to a large extent by mega infrastructural investments in private healthcare sector in recent times, like Aster Medcity Kochi, Rajagiri Hospital Aluva and Believers Church Hospital Thiruvalla. Aster MIMS Kozhikode, KIMS Thiruvananthapuram and Lakeshore Hospital (VPS) Kochi, the true pioneers of super specialty healthcare, have also grown and expanded.

Kerala is nearing the 10 per cent mark of national MVT receipts driven primarily by its 23 NABH and 2 JCI-accredited hospitals and many specialty dental clinics. Tamil Nadu, followed by Maharashtra and NCR lead in MVT. Patients from the GCC States and Indian Ocean region travel to Kerala for treatment. Kerala can easily attract MVT from Africa and South East Asia who prefer Tamil Nadu to Kerala, if we get our act together. Kerala’s globally renowned credentials as a tourism and wellness destination can also be leveraged to attract MVT from Europe and the US. But what is lacking today is collaboration among all stakeholders and cooperation among MVT providers. Kerala will become an ‘also ran’ player in MVT if we miss this opportunity to come together and invest in destination branding, joint promotions with Kerala Tourism and ride on our well earned Ayurveda-defined wellness tag. These can unlock immense synergies and easily build a billion-dollar forex-earning industry offering employment to thousands of medical professionals and cross subsidizing world-class healthcare for the common man.

MVT is our issue theme this month, a special for the upcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai. And who else to grace the covers than the siblings, E M Najeeb and Dr. M I Sahadulla? Najeeb is the pioneer of organised travel trade in Kerala and undoubtedly one of the tallest leaders of the tourism industry. Dr. Sahadulla, with help from his well connected brother, has built brick by brick what is today KIMS Healthcare Group with facilities across Kerala and the GCC region. Read their remarkable story on Page 46.

See you in Dubai.