By Utpal Borpujari
Traditional Indian healing systems like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha will now provide healing touch to Indian tourism.
The Centre, in an effort to attract more foreign tourists looking for specialised aspects of India, has drawn up a plan to promote these traditional systems.
The move comes together with a plan to promote caravan tourism and heliport tourism, Ministry of Tourism officials said.
While the two are not directly linked with wellness tourism, once tourists preferring to travel in their own trailer trucks – or “caravans” – get facilities to park their vehicles at spots with tourist amenities, many of them could visit centres of wellness tourism in caravans.
Also, if heliport tourism takes off, it could provide easier and faster access to tourists to remotely-located wellness tourism spots, apart from other remote tourist areas.
The twin promotion plans have come even as official data shows that there has been an 8.6 per cent decline in foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in August as compared to miniscule positive growth in the previous two months.
To promote wellness tourism in the overseas market, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has revised the guidelines of Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) to include the wellness tourism service providers and facilitators in its purview.
A new set guidelines for accreditation of wellness centres are also being finalised by the Department of AYUSH in partnership with National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH).
The Ministry has also decided to promote caravan tourism with a view that given the diverse tourism potential of India, caravans and caravan parks have a potential to add an exciting new facet to Indian tourism.
This could attract a wide range of market segments, including young people, families, senior citizens and international tourists, officials said.
Under the plans, the caravans would be popularised and promoted by developing caravan parks in public private and PPP mode.
Caravan parks would be approved by the Ministry once they develop the minimum required facilities such as parking bays, tourist amenities centre, landscaping, toilets and adequate measures for safety and security of tourists.
Similarly, to promote tourist destinations in hilly and remote areas of the country, the Ministry has issued guidelines to extend financial assistance to state governments and Union Territory administrations for construction of heliports.
Two projects for construction of heliports at Mangan and Geetang Khola in Sikkim have also been sanctioned under this new initiative, and both the projects are likely to be completed within two years.