There has been an increased interest in country’s ancient medical and wellness therapies including yoga, Ayurveda or various practices that come under the AYUSH ministry, Prahlad Singh Patel said. India witnessed a footfall of 6.97 lakh foreign patients on a medical visa in 2019. India, known for its Ayurveda and wellness practices, could benefit immensely from medical tourism as the world gradually recovers from covid-19 pandemic, said Prahlad Singh Patel, minister of state, ministry of tourism and culture on Thursday. He was addressing a session on ‘Reviving the stressed sectors to support the post-covid recovery for India’ at ASSOCHAM’s virtual conference.
“There has been an increased interest in country’s ancient medical and wellness therapies including yoga, Ayurveda or various practices that come under the AYUSH ministry. I feel that India will gain immensely from our ancient knowledge of medicine in a post covid world. Our ancient system of medicine, herbal cures and wellness methods are what people will look for in the coming months as they will deal with the challenges posed by coronavirus infection. After covid, medical tourism in India is expected to rise and we must be prepared for this opportunity,” he noted.
To be sure, India witnessed a footfall of 6.97 lakh foreign patients on a medical visa in 2019. This accounts for 6.9% of total foreign tourist arrivals, as per the estimates put out by ministry of tourism. This leaves a huge headroom for growth. Patel also said that the way Prime Minister NarendraModi led government handled the coronavirus crisis has improved the perception of India at the global level.
“A number of foreign tourists who were stuck in the country due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown chose to stay back in India as they felt safe here than their home country. Corona is almost over now and whatever damage that it had to do has already been done. My focus is on ways to address the impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry,” he added.
Patel said that he has accepted the loan restructuring proposals from the hospitality industry and forwarded it to the finance ministry for further approval. He also highlighted that the domestic tourism has started showing early signs of revival and the ministry will continue to promote various sectors such as wildlife and heritage.
“We are witnessing a shift where a majority of travellers are preferring to stay at small and unexplored properties than big hotels. It could be in various tiger reserve projects or other serene places where we have to focus now. Though I feel big hotels will continue to be relevant as international travel and events resume,” he added.