Himachal Pradesh to push health tourism on Kerala lines

June 8th, 2009 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, June 8 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh, one of India’s more popular tourist destinations, will now promote ancient systems of nature cure on the pattern of Kerala to lure health-conscious affluent visitors, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has said.
“Our main focus will now be to tap high-end health tourists. Such tourism is quite popular in Kerala. We are adopting that pattern,” Dhumal, who also holds the tourism portfolio, told IANS.

“We are identifying spots far from crowded areas, where we plan to open these nature-cure centres. Initially, nine health resorts will be opened,” he said.

The government has also decided to send 28 ayurvedic medical officers to Kerala shortly for training in nature cure systems, and plans to request the southern state for specialised masseurs to train Himachali youth.

“Himachal’s rich medicinal plant species can contribute towards curing incurable diseases. People in remote villages are still curing themselves by using locally grown herbs,” Dhumal averred.

Health minister Rajeev Bindal, who visited Kerala earlier this year to learn about ancient Indian systems of treatment, said his department would accord priority to promoting health tourism.

Himachal Pradesh, known for its apples, a World Heritage railway and picture-perfect tourist spots, last year attracted 9.37 million domestic and 367,000 foreign tourists. Kullu and Manali are tourist hotspots, followed by Shimla and Dharamsala, the seat of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

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