Ayurveda specialists in India are expecting a busier season for medical tourism as Sri Lanka, a major competitor in the field, struggles with tourism disruption on the back of an unprecedented unrest.
Abhilash K Ramesh, executive director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, said: “What’s happening in Sri Lanka is unfortunate. We expect international tourists who were earlier considering Sri Lanka for ayurvedic treatments will now turn to India as an alternative.”
The destination switch will likely result in “good demand from key markets like Europe”, said Abhilash, who hopes that business would return to pre-pandemic levels by the start of October.
Onkar Singh, vice president – hospitality & wellness operations, Fazlani Natures Nest, told TTG Asia: “We expect a good number of confirmed bookings from international markets including Europe and North America. We are engaging tour operators in the key international source markets to promote our packages. We are also utilising digital and social media platforms to engage with potential clients.”
India’s ayurveda tourism sector recently received a boost when Indian prime minister Narendra Modi revealed the government’s plan to introduce a new Ayush visa for foreigners planning to visit for traditional treatments like ayurveda.
Kamana Pereira, head of wellness programme, Namami Health Retreat, said: “More and more people from all around the world are turning to healing therapies such as ayurveda and yoga to lead healthier and fitter lives. We anticipate an exponential growth of ayurveda tourism in Kerala.
“Thirty per cent of the Rs45,000 crore (US$5.62 billion) tourism revenue in the state comes from the ayurveda sector and the recently announced Ayush visas will give legitimacy to Kerala’s ayurvedic legacy,” added Kamana.
Ramesh commented that once the Ayush visa category is introduced, it will give a better insight into the exact number of international tourists visiting India for traditional treatments and the potential vested in the segment.