KOCHI:The government is seriously considering to provide medical visa for ayurveda treatment, in an initiative that is expected to boost ayurveda tourism in the State. Though medical tourism has gained significant popularity in Kerala, ayurveda is yet to get its due recognition. If tourist visa is changed into ayurveda treatment visa it would be a big boost for the sector.
The matter was taken up by the Confederation for Ayurvedic Renaissance - Keralam Ltd (CARe Keralam), a public limited company supported by the Ayush Ministry having equity partnership with the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra), which is represented by all the major companies functioning in the State.
CARe Keralam managing director Dr Sajikumar S said that if considered on par with the other medical tourism projects in Kerala, there would be a huge potential for ayurveda. Medical visa is already being granted to those who come for treatment in other medical streams.
“The majority of the foreigners visiting Kerala for treatment have insurance facility.
They will be able to avail the insurance facility only if they are issued visa for the purpose. At present, some of the insurance companies in India are reimbursing the treatment expense. If visa is issued for ayurveda treatment, the number of foreigners who prefer Kerala for treatment would increase,” said Sajikumar.
Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao said that ayurveda visa should be issued by the Emigration Department. “The proposal to classify visas into various categories has to be finalised by the External Affairs Ministry. The proposals put forth by players in the ayurveda sector will be forwarded to the Union Ministry. The State Government will examine the matter in detail and take a final decision,” added Kamala.
Sajikumar said that CARe Kerala had taken initiatives to standardise ayurveda medicines as part of promoting Kerala as a destination for ayurveda products and services of international standard.
“The government’s efforts in this regard will benefit the State’s economy. The cumulative annual turnover of ayurveda products and services is around `900 crore. If ayurveda visas are allowed, there will be a 35 per cent increase in the services, adding `100 crore to the turnover,” he said.
According to Sajikumar, tourists consider ayurveda as an external orientation rejuvenation treatment.
“However, they have started taking ayurveda medicines after the medicines acquired international standard,” he added.