Future lies in curative Ayurveda, say tourism experts

The traditional system of medicine finds increased footfalls from countries like Russia and Japan

Kochi: Ayurveda continues to be the mainstay for Kerala tourism but the trend is slowly shifting to curative therapies from mere wellness centres.

While there is a dip in arrivals from traditional pockets like Germany to the state for ayurveda, it is being offset by increased footfalls from Russia and Japan, according to tourism experts at Kerala Travel Mart, here, on Friday.

“We need to reinvent our strength in ayurveda as competition is growing from countries like Sri Lanka, which has a tropical climate similar to Kerala and where getting a visa is much easier,” said Mr Sajeev Kurup, managing director of Paithrukam Hospitality Group and leading player in ayurveda tourism.

He said the State should have more curative ayurveda clinics of good standards to fend off the competition. “There is an increasing demand for curative ayurveda centres. The State does not have even 10 such good clinics where high-end clients could check in,” Mr Kurup said.

Dr Petra Holz, who is working for a tour operator in Germany, said that while Kerala’s tour packages were well appreciated in her country, the complaints from clients were mostly related to long visa processes. “A good number of our clients are either elderly people or single females. They want simpler visa procedures and secure destinations,” she said.

Dr. Hans Wettstein, also acquainted with Kerala’s ayurveda tourism for long, warned of the competition even from Europe. “I was amazed to find an ayurveda centre offering wellness treatment in Zurich recently,” he noted, while stressing that Kerala should give more importance to garbage clearance and infrastructure development to ward off such competition.

Dr G.G. Gangadharan said that the full potential of ayurveda was yet to be discovered and added that that it was the only treatment mode promising radical (complete) cure.

Meanwhile, main attractions at this year’s Kerala Travel Mart are projects developed for tourists to experience village life as part of responsible tourism ventures.
Village Life Experience (VLE) packages of Kerala Tourism at Kumarakom, Kovalam, Wayanad, Thekkady and Bekal allow the visitor to experience the soul of Kerala. These packages encourage the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, sharing 95 per cent of the income with the local community.

Experience Kumarakom: Experience at firsthand coconut farming and the tender taste of coconut, net fishing, coir making, bow and arrow fishing and a visit to Antony's cattle farm. You also get to experience bow and arrow fishing, net fishing, learning to thatch coconut leaves for thatched roof houses, making of coconut brooms and to visit the typical kitchen garden in Kerala.

Experience Kovalam: Learn about the sun, sea and sand from a local resident, who lives off the sea. A visit to the Thanal Zero Waste Centre, Dairy farm, a unit making handicrafts using coconut shells, a weaving unit, a copra unit and a crèche. You also get to visit a vegetable farm, Vellayani Lake, Vizhinnjam fishing harbour, a coir village and get firsthand experience of the local martial art Kalaripayattu.

Experience Waynad: Visit the amazing world of bamboos at Cheruvayal, a visit to the local crèche and school and learn how to plough paddy field using traditional plough and ox.

Experience Bekal: Learn the art of traditional net fishing (valaveeshal), screw pine weaving, coconut weaving, toddy tapping, pottery, a visit to Bekal Fort and a performance of the traditional Theyyam dance.

( Source : dc correspondent )
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