Kerala is one sweet spot with its ayurvedic centres holding a large chunk of the global ayurvedic industry that is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2022.
Spas and ayurvedic centres in hotels in Kerala are about to open their doors for visitors soon.
With the private industry associations like Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry (CKTI) and Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) demanding the reopening of the spas and ayurvedic centres that are part of the hotels, after the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown and the travel restrictions have caused havoc for the industry, as the centres had to remain shut for long. These centres attract a large number of domestic and international visitors every year and churn a hefty amount of revenue for the hotels as well.
While the independent ayurvedic resorts and retreats have been operational in the state for quite some time, the spas and ayurvedic centres in the hotels had no permission to operate since March 2020.
Now, the state government has granted permission to open these spas and ayurvedic centres in the state. However, these facilities have to operate with strict compliance with the Covid-19 protocols, which are set by the state health department.
Meanwhile, despite the restrictions from the wellness tourism revoked by the state government, the industry stakeholders are seeking a waiver on the current quarantine norms for the visitors who come from outside Kerala, at least for those who are visiting for ayurvedic treatments and therapies.
The visitors who come to Kerala from outside the state and want to stay more than a week, need to stay in mandatory quarantine for seven days. As the industry stakeholders claim, this rule has been creating a lot of hurdles to the already ailing sector.
Usually, the ayurvedic therapies demand around 11-28 days stay in the centres. An additional seven-day quarantine alongside the usual stay is discouraging many visitors from visiting the state, impacting the tourism in the state at large.
In a recent memorandum, CKTI requested the Chief Minister of the state to review the quarantine policy for visitors who wish to visit Kerala for ayurvedic or medical treatments. The tourism federation too asked for similar relaxation for foreign tourists who wish to visit the state for wellness tourism.
For Kerala, the ayurveda centres and hospitals not only churn a huge amount of revenue but also provide jobs to many locals. With the severe impact on the economy and on the tourism industry, many have lost jobs. Now, with the gradual reopening of the economy and restart of activities, the industry is aiming to be back to its normal activity. However, a pre-Covid-level activity is still a far cry.
Kerala registered Rs 300 crore turnover from its more than 1,400 ayurveda centres in 2016.
The size of the global ayurveda market is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2022 from $3.4 billion in 2015. Kerala holds a sweet spot in the global map of ayurveda industry and wellness tourism. The state holds a large chunk of the total market volume. Back in 2016, the industry recorded a turnover of more than Rs 300 crore from its over 1,400 ayurveda-associated industries. Besides that, the industry also earned Rs 62 crore from exports to overseas countries. As per estimates, Kerala’s ayurveda industry constitutes 10% of the Indian herbal market, which is worth around Rs 4,400 crore.
After a lull in the industry in 2020, in 2021, the stakeholders are now hoping for a silver line in the sector. In 2021, as the vaccine is rolled out across European countries, the industry stakeholders are expecting foreign patients to start flying in from the middle of the year. As they claim, the industry is ready with its infrastructure, including making in-house products and organic food.
Kerala has so far recorded 7.96 lakh Covid-19 cases. The state has registered 7.28 lakh recovery so far, while the death toll is 3,234. India has recorded 1,04,13,417 positive cases so far, while the death toll in the country is 1,50,570.