KOCHI: Just as Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of business and life, the Ayurveda sector too is reeling under its effects. The aftermath of the pandemic can be felt in both categories - the ayurveda wellness treatments offered by resorts and spas catering to a mostly foreign clientele and the hospitals which offer treatments for various ailments to the local populace.
According to veterans in the field, the upcoming Karkkidaka season, which is of much significance in Ayurveda, was a peak season for the latter category. But, the recent developments have taken the sheen
off it. According to the ayurveda Hospitals Management Association (AHMA), there is an average of 75 ayurveda hospitals in each district, with a total of 7,000 in-patient facility, in the private sector alone. Around 80 per cent of these remain booked throughout the year under normal circumstances.
“Since all our hospital operations as well as bookings till mid-May stand cancelled, there is uncertainty over the revival of the sector. The karkkidaka season treatments are usually booked by those who indulge in physically-strenuous activities. But since the pandemic has affected all aspects of the economy, people will not be enthusiastic about spending on such treatments even if the situation in the state improves. Many will prefer to avoid hospitals, including elderly who seek treatment for many ailments. The monsoon months used to see bookings for up to 30 days as part of various packages, ” said C S Krishnakumar, general secretary of AHMA.
“The industry was also affected by the floods of the previous years where people who came in during the monsoon had to leave midway, resulting in losses,” he added.According to AHMA, the average monthly income of the sector was around `18 - `25 crore. This is expected to fall to `8 crore once the sector starts functioning again.The months from November to February sees a huge inflow of foreign tourists. While domestic customers from other parts of India arrive from March to May.
“The prime market for ayurveda wellness sector was western Europe which has been hit by the pandemic. Only 25 per cent of our revenue is generated from local markets. For India, the overseas tourist arrival remain at 11 million, while 22 million Indians travel overseas for recreation. Hence, there is a potential for tapping into the number of domestic tourists if the situation improves,” said Jose Dominic, CEO of CGH Group.
Focus on immunity
There, however, is a silver lining to this. “The pandemic has brought back attention to immunity-boosting measures. We are even receiving calls from our international clients asking about the possibilities in Ayurveda. But since the situation right now warrants caution. We will be seizing the opportunities once the pandemic is contained,” said a resort operator.
According to the Ayurveda Hospitals Management Association, there is an average of 75 ayurveda
hospitals in each district, with a total of 7,000 in-patient facility, in the private sector alone.