Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ayurveda helps Kerala emerge as a key medical tourism hub

The centuries-old tradition of ancient Indian Ayurveda is fast turning Kerala

When British super model Naomi Campbell landed in Kerala last year for an Ayurvedic massage session at Leela Kovalam Beach hotel, she was only affirming the efficacy of the Indian healing system with God's Own Country as its torch-bearer in modern times.

According to sources in Kerala Tourism department, those who visited the state in recent times included Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, known for his global hits like Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor, who came to the state for Ayurvedic treatment for a nagging ailment.

German TV and film actress Ingeborg Schoener (77) has been trooping into the state for the last eight years for Ayurveda treatment.

Completely cured of her painful knee problem, she thanked the tourism officials that she had stopped allopathic treatments.

"Thanks to Ayurveda, I feel fantastic. I make ghee at home and have stopped using oil to fry food. I do my yoga, drink a glass of hot water first thing in the morning and buy one-year worth of Ayurvedic medicines," a spokesperson for the department quoted her as saying.

Pop star Madonna, Hollywood actress Demi Moore and Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have also used Ayurveda for their well-being.

Back home, former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee is an ardent believer in the healing properties of Ayurveda's Panchakarma therapy.

After his visit to Kumarakom lake-side resort, from where he famously "mused" on the state of the affair of the nation in 2000, Vajpayee told people around him that he felt very relaxed after Ayurveda therapy in Kerala.

The list of celebrities from the showbiz world, sports and politics, fascinated by Ayurveda's power to rejuvenate, detoxify and cure, is a never ending one.

Former President Pratibha Patil, spouses of Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar, German soccer legend Gerd Mueller's parents, Union Ministers Shashi Tharoor and A K Antony, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Tata Motors MD Karl Slym have all experienced the curative and wellness power of Ayurveda.
into a global medical tourism destination, attracting holidayers as well as International celebrities to the state.

Kerala Tourism Plans Suceeded

Kerala Tourism has again consolidated its position in the tourism sector by attracting a record 1.07 crore domestic tourists and 7.93 lakh foreign tourists to the State during 2012.
The total revenue, both direct and indirect, from the tourism sector touched Rs.21,125 crore in 2012, compared to Rs.19,037 crore in 2011.
Forex earnings received by the tourism industry in the State went up from Rs.4,221.99 crore in 2011 to Rs.4,548 crore in 2012.
Statistics compiled by Kerala Tourism show that the State achieved an 8.28 per cent variation in foreign tourist arrivals (7.39 lakh in 2011) and 7.41 per cent in the case of domestic tourist arrivals (93.81 lakh) during 2012.
In the case of foreign tourists, Ernakulam district topped the table with 3,30,390 arrivals in 2012, followed by Thiruvananthapuram with 2,42,739 arrivals. Idukki with 62,387 foreign tourist arrivals came third.
The lowest of 1,253 foreign tourist arrivals was recorded in Pathanamthitta district.
The number of foreign tourist arrivals was the highest in January (1,06,314), followed by February (1,03,220).
The least – 28,280 – was in the month of June last year. The highest percentage of 13 per cent variation was in March 2012.
Official sources told The Hindu that change in promotional strategy, use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and active cooperation of tour operators and other stakeholders in the industry helped the State to remain on top.
Roadshows within the country and abroad, participation in international fairs, introduction of mobile-based services and IT-enabled projects, WAP guide, applications for Android and iOS and Bluetooth kiosks also helped Kerala Tourism retain the top position and increase arrivals to the State last year.
Domestic tourism
A break-up of domestic tourist arrivals shows that the highest number of 23,51,631 arrivals was registered in Ernakulam district, followed by 22,13,893 in Thrissur. Thiruvananthapuram district was in third position with 14,08,688 arrivals during the period.
The lowest of 96,893 arrivals was registered in Pathanamthitta.
The highest number of domestic tourist arrivals in 2012 was registered during the month of December (11,23,555).
The lowest of 6,79,215 arrivals was during July. The highest month-wise variation of 11 per cent was registered in October 2012.