Home / News / India /  Kerala to tap Ayurveda to revive tourism in the state

ERNAKULAM: Kerala is fleshing out a plan that will highlight the regenerative aspects of Ayurveda to boost the state's tourism sector, accounting for an estimated 45,000 crore in annual revenue.

It plans to tap Ayurveda, as part of medical tourism, by focussing on traditional massages and beauty treatments. It expects to draw foreign tourists as well as affluent locals in the backdrop of pandemic which has led to an increasing preference for healthy and a natural way of life, said a senior tourism ministry official.

Kerala is estimated to have lost 20,000 crore in revenue so far, the person above said, asking not to be named.

“A lot of buzz has been generated during the covid response of Kerala in national and global media, which will help us to instill the idea that it is a safe place. We are also hoping that Ayurveda, which actually boosts immunity, will have a big role in attracting tourists once the tourist destinations are open," P. Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism in Kerala said in an interview.

“We have sent a proposal to the government and the decision is pending. The government is consulting other departments as well and may soon take a call. Once a decision is taken to open tourism destinations, we will be doing a big tourism campaign," he said.

Opening of tourism destinations would require various relaxations such as easing of quarantine rules, which Kerala still insists on for out-of-state travellers, but in line with standard operating procedures for social distancing, covid protocols and so on.

Bala Kiran said tourism has been hit severely with the eight months since late February to September a washout for the sector.

“…But we are hoping that if we are able to catch the tourism season which starts in October till March, maybe we can do some damage control," Bala Kiran added.

As part of the proposal, the department has proposed opening up places with controlled access, especially where there are ticketing facilities or gated access.

“In those places, you can control the number of tourists who can be present at a time. We also require a particular number of visitors allowed for each park, each destination. So those can be started in the first phase, and others can be started in a staggered manner," he said.

The move is pending approval from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has been trying hard to tackle rising infections and also reboot the economy.

Kerala had over 37,000 active cases as on Saturday, with daily cases averaging at 4,000 for a week, and death toll crossing 500. However, the huge drop in revenue and higher borrowings have left the state cash strapped. It has extended salary cuts for its employees till the end of this fiscal to tide over the cash crunch.

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