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Domestic Medical Tourism on Track
October 14, 2015
Domestic Medical Tourism on Track

14 October 2015

Chennai: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on Monday officially announced the ‘domestic medical tourism with value added services’ package to offer hassle-free travel for people who seek medical care in Tamil Nadu. The IRCTC also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Apollo Hospitals, Chennai for piloting the initiative.

IRCTC was also looking to expand the service to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in collaboration with airline services and other travel agencies in those countries.

“Most of the people from the north-east travel to Tamil Nadu particularly to Chennai for medical care. We had surveyed passengers at Chennai railway station and also in Kolkata and found that most of them travel to Chennai for medical care, but they don’t have hassle-free connectivity from their home town to the station and the hospitals,” said an IRCTC official.

The IRCTC medical tourism package will offer confirmed return ticket, local transport to the hospital and back to the railway station and also food on train. There will also be add-ons like hotel stay, sight-seeing and the passengers who don’t want these can skip. “We are doing this as an experiment. Based on the response, we are looking at connecting the regions where there is lack of healthcare facilities to where there are facilities available aplenty,” said V Sriram, south zone director, IRCTC.

Under the MoU, IRCTC will operate a chartered coach from Kolkata to Chennai every 14 days and integrate that with the preventive health check-up packages of Apollo Hospitals to offer a comprehensive package to the travellers. The coach will be stationed in Chennai for three days and will return with the same set of passengers. “Now we have introduced just preventive health check-up package, however we will be including other speciality care. We will also introduce chartered coach in trains from Guhawati to Chennai. According to the feasibility of the trains. We will identify the trains for this. There will be an escort in the coach to guide the passengers,” another IRCTC official added.

The package size will be decided and will be updated on the IRCTC website, the officials added. “We are also looking at hospitals which have more branches across the country and also hospitals that offer speciality care, to which the passengers frequent. The pilot service will be launched in mid-November,” said Sriram. After studying the success of this project, the IRCTC also will launch wellness-tourism in Kerala, the officials added.