Kochi, June 29 With monsoons in full avalanche and Karakata season (mid-July to mid-August) considered the most auspicious for Ayurveda, Kerala’s centuries-old traditional healing sector is gearing up to seize greater share of medical tourism this year, straddling two factors. First, the recent announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Ayush visas, and second, the uncertainties plaguing Sri Lanka, a major competitor in Ayurveda.
Vignesh Devaraj, CEO of Sitaram Beach Retreat, said Activity area that German travel insurance companies have issued warnings against the use of treatments in Sri Lanka due to the crisis in the country. He said the Centre’s move to secure Ayush visas could also boost revenue for cash-strapped Kerala given the increase in tourist stay for health packages ranging from 14 to 21 days.
He added that the decision of insurance companies in Switzerland to reimburse Ayurvedic treatments will be an additional boost.
Kerala was receiving about 12 lakh international tourist arrivals annually, of which 30% were visits for medical tourism
According to Sajikumar S, Managing Director of Dhathri Ayurveda, unrest in Sri Lanka will be an added benefit for Kerala Ayurveda hospitals with likely displacement of medical tourists. He said around 1.9 million tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2019, helping the island nation earn nearly $4.4 billion, around 25% of which came from Ayurvedic wellness tourism. The political crisis in the neighboring country could be a boon for hospitals in Kerala.
He said Kerala receives about 12 lakh international tourist arrivals annually, 30% of which are visits for medical tourism. However, the pandemic had reduced attendance to a trickle, but Ayurvedic activity has now begun to revive.
Sajikumar who is the former chairman of CII Kerala said that 30% of the ₹45,000 crore tourism revenue in the state comes from Ayurvedic treatment and Ayush visas will give authenticity to these treatments. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement regarding the “Heal India” campaign will also help the medical tourism sector in India.
Dr Ramanathan, secretary general of the Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organization of India (AMMOI), said there was still confusion among foreign medical tourists as to whether they could qualify for visa to India. arrived for Ayurvedic treatment. However, the Prime Minister’s recent announcement should reduce technical doubts about visa allocations.
The need of the hour, he said, is to provide Ayurvedic treatments in a systematic manner, which would help Kerala become a health hub in global markets.
“We have submitted a memorandum to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal seeking solutions related to Ayurvedic product exports. This includes shortage of raw materials, increased transport costs, availability of containers, diplomatic intervention to gain acceptance and recognition of Ayurveda, marketing measures for Ayurvedic products for therapeutic use, as the export market is limited to personal care and wellness products. he said
June 29, 2022