Sri Lanka promoting ayurveda to boost tourism

May 19th, 2008 - 10:24 am ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, May 19 (IANS) Sri Lanka is trying to promote ayurveda in the hope that the soothing herbal therapies will attract travellers looking for relaxation and rejuvenation and boost its tourism industry, which has been affected by the ongoing civil war. Tourism is one of the main income generating industries in Sri Lanka. Major tourist attractions are focused around the island’s famous beaches, ancient cities, heritage sites, and the lush green tea estates in the central hills.

“Our tourism sector is a combination of nature and culture and ayurveda touches both. With ayurvedic tourism becoming a booming industry in the region, we are making concerted efforts to streamline it to attract more tourists to our country,” Sri Lanka Tourism Board head Renton de Alwis told IANS.

Ayurveda is the herbal method of treating the root causes of illness in both the mind and the body. Although the methods of treatment vary, massages with herbal oils, steam baths and bathing in herbal waters are some of the well-known methods, particularly beneficial to patients with migraine, insomnia and arthritis.

“Besides Kerala, Sri Lanka is the next best recognised spot for this field in the world. It will be a totally different experience for the tourists as ayurveda gives them a new lifestyle,” De Alwis said.

He said that Sri Lanka’s tourism ministry is now working with the ministry of indigenous medicine in this regard and conducting training workshops for ayurveda practitioners and therapists to set high standards of professionalism in dealing with tourists from various countries.

“We want to standardise the ayurvedic practice in the country to ensure the maintenance of a high quality of service. We do not want unqualified practitioners to cheat tourists in the name of ayurveda,” De Alwis said.

According to the monthly statistical report released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, there has been a marginal increase of 0.7 percent in tourist arrivals for the first three months of 2008, though it is nearly a nine percent growth when compared to the previous year.

“Right now we are doing all right, but we could do much better,” De Alwis said.

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