The Kerala Tourism department is planning to launch a campaign that will focus on ayurveda to promote medical tourism and will draw maximum advantage from the biodiversity region of Western Ghats, says Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar.
The campaign, the minister said, would focus on ayurveda owing to the rich medicinal plants' reserve in the Western Ghats, which is among the "hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world".
"Kerala is naturally blessed to be the flagbearer of ayurveda because of the state's rich ecosystem in the Western Ghats," Kumar said here.
A large number of foreign and domestic tourists come to Kerala for ayurvedic treatment. As many as 900 species of medicinal herbs are found in Kerala, he said.
Agasthyakoodam peak in the Western Ghats, about 70 km from here, is home to some of the rarest medicinal plants.
Kerala received about 94 lakh domestic visitors last year while about eight lakh foreign tourists visited the state during the same time, according to a tourism department official.
A majority of foreign tourists from Germany, the Middle East and Australia joined the state's ayurveda wellness programmes, the official said.
Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa said ayurveda treatment in the state was aimed at providing vigour and health to visitors.
"That is what the tourists are looking for. Lifestyle changes and urban pressures are increasingly affecting the people," he added.
The ayurveda-focussed tourism campaign aims at lengthening the average stay of foreign tourists to 18 days per person from the present average of 16.2 days.
Kerala also plans to bring about a convergence of different systems of medicine.
Besides, the tourism department will also add new tourism destinations and diversify its tourism portfolio by including adventure activities like rock climbing and paragliding.