The Indian state of Kerala thrives on its popularity as a tourism destination, with monsoon and eco-tourism contributing to the mix.
However, medical tourism is one of the key industries in the region and has helped to drive forward the 30 per cent growth of foreign tourist arrivals experienced in the state over the first eight months of 2006.
Dr V Venu, tourism secretary for the government of Kerala, told India's Business Standard that final figures for 2006 are likely to confirm an increase of around 20 per cent in arrivals for the year as a whole.
"Kerala has immense potential to grow as a global medical travel destination because of the quality manpower and huge cost differential," he explained.
The government has been helping to develop an accreditation system for hospitals and Dr Venu said: "I am sure that once the hospitals get accredited, the demand for medical services will peak."
India is renowned for the quality of its medical personnel, many of whom train and work in the UK before taking their expertise back to the subcontinent.
Independent advice on private healthcare