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Ayurveda treatment a major draw for tourists in
hotels and resorts of Kerala
by Juhan Samuel

     Kochi: Having already made its foray into the world of medical tourism, Ayurveda is now becoming the USP (unique selling point) for hotels and resorts in the country. Most of the resorts and hotels display the famed Indian Ayurveda for spa, medicines, therapy and special massages to lure the tourists. They wish to try a form of medicine that ensures lasting results like Ayurveda does. The Managing Director, Faizal of Emarald Group, owning a number of hotels and resorts in India, promoted by NRI's has already in the process of tying up with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy Coimbatore in all its chains, starting with Silent Valley Resort in Pulamanthole, Malappuram district of Kerala. Hordes of tourists flock Kochi in Kerala which is the only place where Ayurveda is practiced with dedication. The climatic condition of Kerala is much suited for the traditional Ayurvedic treatment. "This is a special Ayurvedic resort, specialty of this resort is that lot of foreign and domestic tourists come here because it is an isolated place. People visit this place to rejuvenate themselves," said Faizal the Managing Director of Emerald Group. Apart from treatments and rejuvenation therapies, such centres have got highly qualified physicians, therapists and well-equipped pharmacy. Faizal informed that the number of medical tourists from gulf countries are on the rise who visit India for 7, 15 or 21 days treatment or rejuvenation package.

     Many upcoming and existing resorts, hotels and heritage homes are lined up to open specialised ayurveda centres, only because it has now become a catch word to attract tourists, says Krishna Kumar, MD of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy Coimbatore Ltd., the company which has number of offers to franchise with such centres in the country and abroad. "We want to strengthen and promote ayurveda, we have got outlets through which we can make ayurvedic supplements available. We want to make sure that quality that is rendered to the customers are more than mere hospitality," said P. R. Krishna Kumar, Padmashree recipient and Managing Director of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy. Recently, Yash Birla Group, the diversified Rs 3,000 crore business house in India, announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Kerala Vaidyashala, an Ayurvedic Therapy Centre chain, through a joint venture. As part of its immediate plans, Birla Kerala Vaidyashala has earmarked Rs. 50 crores to open 200 centres, owned and franchisee, stay spas and cruise spas and 19 economy centres across Kerala, Goa, Mumbai Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. Experts from the hospitality industry believe that India has got a good tourism potential in the future and just 10 percent of it has been promoted till now. Seeing future prospects, many pharmacuticals companies are diversifing their busifness to ayurveda health care business. Pharmaceutical company Ipca Laboratories Ltd is planning to diversify into the Ayurveda and traditional health care business. It also expects to set up an Ayurveda health care retail chain for the new venture in addition to the manufacturing and marketing of specialty traditional medicines. The Rs. 2000 crore Katra Group, last year planned to expand its business in ayurveda.by acquisitions in India and the US to build an overseas brand for ayurveda. According to ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), India's foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector is likely to grow by 20 per cent to 16.91 billion dollars in the next two years, mainly due to huge tourists inflow expected during the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi. The country's tourist arrivals in 2008, total tourist arrivals in India stood at 5.37 millions and in October alone it was recorded at 453,000 and are likely to double during October 2010.
-Feb 2, 2009

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