Hospital groups in India are considering striking up partnerships with foreign airlines to help bring in medical tourists.
Several leading corporate hospitals are reportedly exploring possible avenues in a bid to boost the number of tourists seeking treatment abroad, according to the India Times.
"Several hospital chains are exploring options to increase the foreign patient inflow in India through partnerships," confirmed Vishal Bali, chief executive officer of Wockhardt Hospitals Group.
"With international airfares becoming attractive and affordable, such alliances may reap rich dividends," he added.
Wockhardt is in the process of holding talks with a number of carriers and several other groups, including the Fortis chain, are also exploring airline partnerships.
Interest in the idea appears to be coming from both sides, with some airlines actively seeking hospitals with which to provide combined packages.
"Though we haven't entered into tie-ups with any hospital or medical organisation, we are studying this market," revealed Foo Chai Woo, India general manager at Singapore Airlines.
"The concept is very new and comprises a niche target segment," he added.
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Treatment abroad news : 30/11/2006