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Ayurveda, yoga seen as big draws during Commonwealth Games

New Delhi, Oct 7 (Calcutta Tube) Ayurveda, yoga and medical tourism in general will be big draws among overseas visitors during the ongoing Commonwealth Games here to potentially fetch $200 million to those offering such services, says a study released Tuesday.

Ayurvedic and yoga alone will be a $135-million business during the 12-day event, while the revenue prospects for medical tourism are expected at around $65 million, says the study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

‘Job opportunity for ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga, spa and medical tourism professionals is projected for 50,000 people,’ said chamber secretary general D.S. Rawat, releasing the study.

Keeping in view India’s ancient tradition of ayurveda and its low-cost medical tourism facilities, a large number of visitors from Britain, Canada and Australia would like to take advantage of domestic ayurvedic and medical tourism facilities, he said.

According to the study, each foreigner visiting India during the Games is likely to spend Rs.10,000-Rs.35,000 ($225-$775) on ayurveda and related treatments, while the spend on medical tourism will be higher at Rs.40,000-Rs.120,000 ($885-$2,650).

The hospitality industry not only in Delhi but also Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – states neighbouring the national capital – have already set up over 150 ayurveda, spa and yoga centres to provide possible comfort to tourists and athletes, the study says.

Occupancy at ayurveda and naturopathy centres have gone up by 60 percent, it adds.

In India, there are over 380,000 registered practitioners of the ayurvedic system and the market size is estimated at Rs.4,500 crore ($1 billion). Thanks to the Games, it will touch around Rs.5,500 crore ($1.2 billion) this year, the study says.

In medical tourism, some 200,000 patients from overseas visit India each year, fetching a business worth over $500 million. This is expected to touch $2 billion by 2012, due to advantages such as low-cost treatment compared to the US and Europe.

Assocham also suggested to the ministries of health and tourism to jointly set up a separate department and training institute to bridge the gap of skilled professionals in this field and also authorise the ayurvedic and herbal centres.

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