How English speech assistants are boosting the health tourism industry in India – Times of India

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Atul Mohan, Head of Growth at ELSA India
India has always attracted tourists for various reasons since time immemorial. One of them has been its ancient medicinal practices. In fact, these travels have also inspired a lot of books exploring Indian culture and wellness tourism. According to a report, 7 out of every 100 foreigners who visit India make a trip solely for medical treatments.
Health tourism refers to travelling across international borders to seek medical care; this practice has recently seen its fair share of increase. India has earned its title of being the world’s pharmacy due to the trust it has gained from people around the globe. It has become one of the catalysts to attract people from across the seas to seek medical care and wellness. Being the land of ancient medical practices, India provides a wide variety of medical care, ranging from Ayurveda, Yoga, Panchakarma, Rejuvenation Therapy, Homoeopathy,  etc. The rise of health tourism in India can be seen through the example of how Kerala has been using Health tourism as one of its USP for Kerala Tourism. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, most of the tourists visit India for Ayurveda. So much so, leading tour operators have added Ayurveda as part of their brochures.
However, the problem that still remains is the frequently changing languages and dialects, not just in India but across the globe. This acts as a barrier in precise communication in a field which requires a very direct and clear conversation. In order to tackle this problem, we have seen a growing number of English-speaking doctors and nurses in India (which has furthered the health tourism sector). However, clear formulation of ideas is still a problem.
English being the most spoken language in the world with an approximate of 1.5 billion, it becomes crucial, in today’s time, to be fluent and very articulate with the language you use to communicate with one’s patients more effectively. Most of the time, due to the language barrier, the patient’s family tends to hire translators, which acts as not just a safety issue but also tends to raise the cost of the treatment.
The role of English Speech Assistants
Even though English is the lingua franca of the world, still less than 1/4th of the English-speaking population uses it as their primary language. Due to this, it is difficult for people to express themselves in English even though they are aware of the technical know-hows of the language. The issue that arises here is that one of the important parts of language learning is mastering the speech and the manner of delivering a message. This, however, is not something that gets easily mastered by a populous that uses English as their second language.
As a member of the health sector, an individual needs to be delicate with their message delivery as well as clear and to the point about it.  Along with this, being part of the health tourism sector, English becomes very important to just get our point across in general.
Speech Assistants work in a manner that makes language learning fun and very easy to learn. This helps people get rid of the nervousness that comes along with learning and speaking a speech that isn’t considered as their first language. In simpler words, speech assistants help us believe in our capabilities, making thinking in the language more accessible and communication more straightforward.
Another way that English Speech Assistants help us with is the building of one’s confidence in their speaking ability which aids in making their personality more attractive and approachable. This when it becomes a part of their persona it helps them build a trusting relationship with people in their field or from their workspace.
As stated by the Ministry of Tourism, one of the main reasons for the growth in the health tourism sector in India is because the doctors and nurses are fluent in English. Already, this sector is expected to grow at the CAGR of 21.1% from 2020 to 2027, even though English is not the first language of most of the people. With the help of English Speech Assistants, the industry’s boost might help us achieve our goal faster and grow at a higher rate.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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