Kerala 2021

Kerala’s Ayurvedic retreats innovate to stay open

Luxury resorts supply discounted packages for locals and coverings particularly designed for COVID-rehab and Work From Home fatigue

After two lockdowns, tourism in Kerala is cautiously opening with Karkkadakam (July-August), the final month of the Malayalam calendar. Considered to be a great time of the 12 months for Ayurveda remedies, the State is often bustling with wellness tourism presently, as home and worldwide travellers arrive in droves, staying for a month or extra.

But COVID-19 has modified all the pieces. For the second consecutive 12 months, the Ayurveda centres want to search out inventive methods to remain afloat.

Accent on ‘monsoon treatment’

This 12 months, as an alternative of Karkkadakam packages, the accent is on ‘monsoon treatment’. Hefty reductions are being provided for a therapy regime comprising sukha chikitsa (preventive remedy), rejuvenation classes with panchakarma therapy and medicated diets. Some centres started providing packages from June onwards, the start of the South-West monsoon within the State. Somatheeram, an award profitable property in Kovalam, as an example now gives a 30% low cost on all monsoon packages. The present fee for a 14-day bundle per head is ₹8,400 per day, inclusive of lodging, therapy, Ayurveda food plan, yoga and meditation and transport.

In an try to cater to a quickly-changing world, post-COVID rehab is being promoted at many locations together with monsoon packages. “We have been giving online consultation from last year. Now we have patients coming in seeking relief from post-COVID symptoms,” says Dr. Ani Sambath, medical superintendent and senior doctor, AyurVAID, Kochi, which has a number of monsoon packages of three, 5, seven, 14 and 21 days, with 15% low cost.

Some centres are providing workations as nicely. “We have youngsters coming in from metros,” says Sajeev Kurup V, president of Ayurveda Promotion Society and common secretary, Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry. “They don’t have any ailments but go for rejuvenating sessions to take a break from their sedentary lifestyle.”

Kerala Tourism’s data state that there are greater than 90 accredited Ayurveda centres within the State. This is along with 20-odd venues, together with medical schools and establishments akin to Kottakkal and Vaidyaratnam which have been giving therapy for years. “Tourism and Ayurveda go hand in hand. Ayurveda contributes nearly 70% to Kerala Tourism’s total foreign exchange,” says Sanjeev, including, “These guests stay for two weeks or a month and spend at least $100 per day on the treatment, which can be wellness or ailment oriented. Some centres that used to charge $200 or 300 per day have reduced the rates now.”

Foreign visitors arriving on medical visas

As lockdowns ease, overseas visitors are arriving on medical visas from international locations which have air bubble pacts with India. In March, over 60 visited. However, journey bans and restrictions to and from India, particularly after the second wave of the pandemic, lowered vacationer arrivals.

“There is just 10% of business happening now. In the last few months we had patients from Russia, United States, Germany, Ukraine, France and Italy who came on medical visas, but in small numbers. Earlier, 99% of our clientele comprised foreign guests,” says Baby Mathew, president, Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) Society and managing director of Somatheeram Group of Companies. KTM, which holds India’s largest B2B meet within the tourism sector, held a digital summit in March this 12 months.

While CGH Earth’s Kalari Kovilakom in Palakkad district has near-full occupancy now (it has 18 rooms), with sufferers from throughout India, Kalari Rasayana, the group’s Ayurveda centre at Kollam, is closed quickly. “Before the second wave of the pandemic, we had patients from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine at Kalari Rasayana,” says Shilendran M, vice-president (gross sales), CGH Earth. He provides, “Our target was international tourists because we weren’t sure whether Indians would be willing to spend so much time and money for the treatment. But the situation has changed in the last three-four months.”

Some centres have reduce workers, whereas a number of properties have been put up on the market. “Certain medicines that we use have shelf life and when the first lockdown was announced even low-end centres had stocks worth ₹5 lakh. Those medicines had to be discarded. Also, a small property needs at least ₹2 lakh per month for maintenance. Owners who are unable to meet that expense are now planning to sell off their property,” says Sajeev. He provides that his resort, Perumbayil Ayurvedamana in Guruvayoor, has simply 30% occupancy at current.

Multiple COVID checks

People are apprehensive though remedies are given following COVID-19 protocol, which incorporates a number of COVID checks for the sufferers and workers, staying in a bio-bubble. “Those who need time-bound treatment or annual care are getting admitted on a priority basis. At present, there is 60% occupancy at AyurVAID. Only a few are enthused about the special packages,” says Dr Ani.

Gurukripa Heritage and Ayurvedic Treatment in Palakkad, which boasts actor Mohanlal as its greatest cheerleader, has 70% occupancy now, says M. Krishnadasan, managing director of the centre. “Among them are those who go for Ayurveda treatment every year without fail and those with ailments that need immediate attention,” he provides. Ultimately, even for luxurious resorts popularised by vacationers, proper now it’s the native regulars who’re holding most clinics up and working.

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