Tourism decline handled by branding the state as ‘Home of Ayurveda’
Kerala, popularly dubbed as “God’s own country”, has built a global reputation over the years in direct relation with tourism. The state, which is located at the southernmost tip of India, earned and remarkably retained its position in the National Geographic’s Top 10 Paradises of the World through adapting different marketing strategies.
Because of this, it has seen tremendous increase in numbers in both domestic and foreign tourists visiting the major tourist destination. But over the last couple of years, Kerala has witnessed a flat growth rate in international tourists; mainly due to the tourism competition with Sri Lanka and other South Asian Countries. According to the government data, the Indian state had more local visitors than foreigners, reason why its tourism growth declined.
In order to overcome its competitors and achieve a 10-12% growth rate in the current year, the Indian state has adopted yet another effective and unique marketing strategy – branding Kerala as “The Home of Ayurveda”. Ayurveda, which is a historical system of medicine in India, promotes rejuvenation and treats ailments through a number of therapies that includes medical plants, climate consistency and serenity – all of which can be found in Kerala.
This ancient system of healthcare is also known for its holistic effect on the mind and body, and is predicted to attract a larger number of tourists from India itself and abroad. This ambitious move for tourism growth is focused on promoting Kerala as a center for wellness, well-being and tranquility, and not just a plain tourist destination.
Being one of the few states left in India to practice the ancient healthcare system, Kerala is still able to maintain a number of legitimate Ayurveda healthcare centers even after all these years. To this day, the state has 13 known Ayurveda centres namely in Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kannur, Kasaragod, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. There are also lot of Ayurveda physicians who practice the ancient system of medicine and are professionally trained in Ayurveda’s diagnostic techniques. Thus, it is absolutely safe to say that one is in good hands when they seek for Ayurveda in Kerala.
According to Nandakumar K. P., the Deputy Director of Kerala Tourism, Kerala is already looking to build up its tourism relationship with the European Union and the United States and has plans of broadening their target market to Russia, Japan and other East-Asian countries. Apart from that, the deputy director has also mentioned a signing of agreement between Kerala and Saint Petersburg this week with regards to tourism and is already looking for similar opportunities with other countries. The state has also signed an agreement with Steffi Graf, the former No. 1 German Tennis player of the world, to become the Ayurveda Brand Ambassador for Kerala. This move is seen to draw more foreign tourists into the beautiful state.
Moreover, keeping their fellow Indians in mind, Kerala has also come up with a new project called “Seaplane Circuit”. This project is created to actively improve connectivity of Calicut, Cochin and Trivandrum with destinations like Astamudi, Bekal, Bolgatti, Kumarakom and Punnamada. If effectively implemented, Kerala will also see definite success in the local tourism.
Apart from its relaxation advantages, Ayurveda can also cure diseases and help attain harmony between the mind and body without the use of medical science. It is only fitting that Kerala be called “The Home of Ayurveda” as the Indian state alone stands unrivaled as the best setting to achieve the rejuvenating effects of the ancient healthcare system. This effective branding will not only help Kerala achieve their target growth in tourism but also provide amazing insight to outsiders about the benefits of the ancient Indian Ayurveda lifestyle.
What do you think about the Kerala government’s latest strategy? Is it a masterstroke or just another attempt by a government desperate to revive the state’s image as an international tourist destination?