Kochi woos Arab tourists for Ayurveda treatment

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Kochi woos Arab tourists for Ayurveda treatment
20-Jun-23 05:04:57

Monsoon health tourism has picked up in the with several Arab tourists coming here this season for ayurveda treatment. Industry insiders say that the rush is like pre-floods of 2018. Almost 10% come with complaints of long Covid.

Till the 2018 floods, during monsoon season it was mostly the Arabs who made a beeline to Kochi to rejuvenate their body through ayurveda treatment. However, from 2018 to 2021, there was a major drop in Arab tourists. Situation improved slightly in 2022 and now with more relaxation, easier visa regulations and more flight connectivity, the medical tourism market is looking better. 

Arab tourists coming for treatment not only helps in medical tourism but also helps the hotel industry as they mostly come with their families and stay here for 21 days to a month for treatment and leisure. This is mainly because it is vacation time there.

“We have a good volume of bookings by Arabs this monsoon. The inquiries are now not only more than pre-Covid times but also more than what it used to be before the 2018 floods,” said Dr AM Anvar of Raha Centre for Advanced Ayurveda and Integrated Rehab, Panampilly Nagar. 

“While majority patients come for treatment of existing illnesses, there are now more than 10% young Arab patients who come and complain of tiredness and aches post Covid or vaccination. All their test reports are normal. Yet they complain that they don’t feel healthy enough,” said Dr Anvar.
India is the key medical tourism destination in Asia with over five lakh foreign patients seeking treatment annually. In 2015, the medical travel market in India was estimated to be around $3 billion. It was expected to reach $9 billion by 2020. 

But the global Covid-19 outbreak affected medical tourism. In Kerala, ayurveda treatment is a big hit with foreigners. That is why many corporate hospitals here are offering integrated treatment — allopathy and ayurveda — as part of a medical tourism package. Almost 25% to 30% of the revenue of major hospitals in the city is from medical tourism. 

“Post Covid patients have realized that ayurveda is an effective way of building up natural immunity,” said Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Association of India general secretary Dr Ramanathan.