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travelbizmonitor.com – Maldivian, the national carrier of Maldives, has signed a pact with the Chennai-headquartered Apollo Hospitals to give discounts to each others’ clients, thus promoting medical tourism in India, as per The Hindu Business Line report. For example, Apollo Hospitals will give a discount on its service charges for those who fly on the airline, and the airline will give similar discounts to the hospital’s patients on the airfare.

Abdul Harris, managing director, Maldivian, said it is keen on signing similar pacts with other healthcare service providers in India. He said the Indian healthcare industry attracts a bulk of Maldivian tourists every year. Every day, at least 200 Maldivians visit India, and a big chunk of Indians visit Maldives for medical care. On an average, every Maldivian spends USD 600 in India, he said.

Harris also pointed out that the number can be much more provided, the Indian government scraps the mandatory 60-day waiting period between every two visits. Though there is no need for a visa for Maldivians, the government has imposed the 60-day waiting period. “To that extent you lose forex revenue,” he said.

Besides bringing in Maldivians, by connecting Chennai and Dhaka, the airline hopes to bring a lot of health tourists to India. So far, there was no direct flight from Dhaka to Chennai, Harris said.

The airline recently introduced new destinations in India, such as Chennai and Mumbai, both three times a week, from Male. It also proposes to connect New Delhi with Male very soon. With the expanded network, the airline hopes to increase its passenger load factor. Earlier, the airline was operating between Male and Thiruvananthapuram twice a day, flying more than 150 passengers both ways.

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