Ayurveda Tourism: The right time for healing is now

The Government of India is pushing for Ayurveda Tourism which focuses on healing and wellness as the absolute right time to be promoted considering the global health issues due to COVID-19. The wellness aspect has taken a precedence for tourists, and there is an immense opportunity for the growth of Ayurveda Tourism.

The Additional Director General of the Ministry of Tourism in the Government of India, Ms. Rupinder Brar, said yesterday: “This is the right time and opportunity for the government and the private stakeholders to jointly take India’s story in Ayurveda to the world. The Ministry of Tourism is creating new promotional material that talks of body, mind, and soul where Ayurveda is an integral aspect as an ancient scientific wisdom for holistic healing and rejuvenation. We need to work on creating the right strategic content and market in the right source markets.”

Addressing the virtual session, “Future of Ayurveda Tourism,” organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Ms. Brar said: “The Ministry of Tourism is engaging with the state governments to ease the movement of tourists across states. Discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs are being organized on the protocols and guidelines for opening up tourism to international tourists.” 

Dr. Manoj Nesari, Adviser (Ayurveda), Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, said: “The Ministry of AYUSH is focusing on both the products and services for healing and wellness of Ayurveda. Ayurveda products and its services were recognized as essential services so that the industry was allowed to operate even during the lockdown. It was during COVID-19 that Ayurveda has been recognized as a serious medicine that can treat COVID-19 patients for a faster recovery. During the health crisis, the Ministry promoted Ayurveda for boosting immunity not just in the domestic market but globally as well. The advisory and research made by the Ministry of AYUSH were translated in eight foreign languages.”

He further said: “The Ministry is coming up with a new scheme called Medical Value Tourism to promote the private sector to establish new greenfield hospitals so that there is a robust infrastructure in other parts of India as well as the eastern region which will be accredited by NABH or other any accreditation agencies to ensure the quality of services and infrastructure provided in the hospitals.” 

Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Past President of FICCI and Chairperson of FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee and CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said: “Ever since the onset of the pandemic, the FICCI Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Committee has been focusing on the survival and revival strategies for the industry. The committee has formed seven new sub-committees including Ayurveda Tourism to focus on the promotion of different verticals within the tourism industry.”

She further said: “There is a new generation in the domestic market that has now understood the value of Ayurveda and its healing benefits. The wellness aspect has taken a precedence for the tourists and there is an immense opportunity for the growth of Ayurveda Tourism.”

Mr. Sajeev Kurup, Chairman, FICCI Ayurveda Tourism Sub-Committee and Managing Director, Ayurveda Mana Hospitals, said: “To boost Ayurveda Tourism in the domestic market, the interstate movement rules of tourists should be rationalized without any quarantine controls and COVID-19 test certificate conditions. However, the states can formulate the COVID-19 protocols. For the international market, the Indian overseas embassies can start issuing tourist and medical visas or start online visas on arrival to international guests.”

“The Ministry of AYUSH is requested that the present NABH accreditation for Ayurveda Hospitals, the guidelines for large medium and small hospitals to be changed based on the number of rooms. Almost 75% of Ayurveda hospitals and resorts fall in the small category; the existing terms and conditions and the cost involved is high, making them difficult to get NABH accreditation.”

Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, said: “FICCI has been promoting Medical Value Travel for several years, and recognizing the importance of Ayurveda in the global scenario we have initiated a strong focus for Ayurveda Tourism. FICCI has recommended the inclusion of Ayurveda Tourism under medical visas to [the] Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of AYUSH.”

Mr. Abhilash K Ramesh, Executive Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group; Mr. Manu Rishi Guptha, Chief Executive Officer, Niraamaya Wellness Retreats; Mr. S. Swaminathan, Managing Director, Dravidian Trails; Ms. Irina Gurjeva, Top Ayurveda Travel Company, Ukraine; and Mr. Shubham Agnihotri, CEO, LS Vishu Ltd., Taiwan also shared their perspective on the challenges and strategies to promote the growth of Ayurveda Tourism.