Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala: Even as the recent terrorist strikes in Mumbai poses further threat to the recession-hit tourism in Kerala, the ayurvedic spas across the State are yet to feel the impact as there has been no large-scale cancellation reported so far.
Most of the reputed ayurvedic institutions in the State still have foreigners undergoing courses such as restorative treatment, comprising massage and oil baths, and have not yet received any alarmingly bad news.
But the overall adverse fallout of recession on tourism with multi-purpose packages being organised by tour operators getting cancelled, it is doubtful whether the health tourism will be able to achieve the target set for the season.
The State government has reckoned that tourism was bound to lose about 25 per cent of the business this year on account of global meltdown. Resorts, homestays and backwater tourism are expected to suffer the most from the global crisis.
A few years back, government had identified medical tourism with special focus on traditional Indian and Indigenous healing system as a high potential area resulting in mushrooming of spas across the State.
“There has been no cancellation of bookings by foreign tourists. We have now 15 Russians in our resorts under treatment and another 12 from Italy, USA and Hungary are expected to arrive next week. A 35-member team from Milan in Italy had just returned after treatment,” T N Vasudevan Moos, managing director of the Thrissur-based SNA Oushdhasala, told PTI in Thiruvanthapuram.
Director of the Catholic church-run Amala Ayurveda Hospital, Fr. Deljo Puthoor, said though there has been no cancellations this year at the institution, the number of foreigners coming for treatment is likely to come down this year as tourism sector as a whole is hit.
He, however, did not think that Mumbai attacks would detract foreigners coming for serious treatments as they opt for the system after being fully convinced of its efficacy to solve their problems.
There are resorts in parts of the State which offer short-term ayurvedic courses of one to two weeks as part of overall package to visitors flown in groups by operators.
Since there is a sharp fall in arrivals this Christmas-New Year season in such conducted tours, spas in resorts would be affected.
According to the owner of a backwater resort in Alappuzha, the impact of financial slowdown on water tourism could go up to an alarming 40 per cent fall, unless there is a sharp reversal of the situation in the US and the Europe.
Keen on maintaining the quality of health tourism, the State government has enforced certain quality parameters to be followed by the industry.
Resorts having health clinics has been asked to strictly ensure the services of qualified doctors and paramedics as there have been complaints that there are some massage parlours luring tourists in the name of ayurveda.