Magazine 2014
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Shashi A Mishra  
Man has an innate desire to experience different places and cultures, which is the source of income for  
the travel sector. There has been an addition to this sector in recent years which has created a new  
turnover to this growing sector in a country like India. It is the health or medical travel which is the  
fastest growing segment in” Destination India”today.This segment has tremendous potential for future  
growth in a vast and varied country like India. Medical travel is making tremendous headways in many  
countries including India. Growth of travel brings benefits to an economy in number of ways like income  
generation, employability, social and cultural exchange, and mobilization of foreign currency as well as  
development of commerce. Medical or health travel has become a common form of vacationing, and  
covers a broad spectrum of medical services. It mixes leisure, fun relaxation together with healthcare.  
Majority of tourist who visit India for medical and leisure purpose generate income for India and also  
spread the traditional and cultural richness of India all over the world. This paper intends to highlight the  
key parameters in Medical Travel and Healthcare growing in Kerala (India)  
Keywords : Ayurveda ,Changing society, Development of Commerce, Leisure activities, Rejuvenation,  
Through ages man has been known to explore the surrounding and settle in a place convenient for  
him. Man looks for his basic needs first food, shelter and clothing. Then he looks for Health and  
pleasure and comfort. This has led many great people to invent products which satisfy these needs.  
Today also man likes to go and explore various places on earth. This has become a huge business  
and also helps nation in generating revenue. It has become a major source of income for majority  
countries. It also provides space for new thoughts. The increasing dominance of rationality in modern  
society combined with new structural openings and opportunities favor in many ways, the emergence  
of various health based activities and medical travel is one of them. It brings benefits to an economy in  
number of ways like income generation, employability, social and cultural exchange, mobilization of  
foreign currency as well as development of commerce. Due to its phenomenal growth, Government of  
India is made to sit up and see the potential of medical travel and health care as large income generating  
Medical Travel and Health Care: An Emerging Industry  
People travel for different reasons while some people seek rest and relaxation, others may travel for  
sports or pilgrimages and health care. Consequently the travel industry has bifurcated and it now  
specializes in different forms of travel. For instance adventure travel provides opportunities for adventures  
sports like hiking, mountaineering, white water rafting, and kayaking, skiing wild life safaris and so on.  
Medical travel provides opportunities for tourists to relieve stress undergo medical treatments and at  
same time partake of leisure activities. Health care and medical travel is perceived as one of the  
fastest growing segment in marketing destination of India today. Ministry of Travel, Government of  
India, Various State Travel Boards and even the private sector consisting of travel agents, tour operator’s  
hotel companies and other accommodation providers are all eying on Medical Travel as a segment  
with tremendous potential for future growth. Many people from the developed world come to India for  
rejuvenation promised by yoga and Ayurvedic massage, destination for hip replacement and brain  
surgery. However, a nice blend of top class facilities and attractive prices is helping a growing number  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
of Indian Corporate hospitals lure foreign patients, including from developed nation such as UK and  
Medical travel is not a new concept. It has been practiced by wealthy Europeans and Asians for decades  
when they would travel within their continent to seek health related treatments. History reveals that in  
ancient Greece during the period of ‘Askalepiyosis’ itself there prevailed Medical Travel. During the  
same period people from the surrounding regions including Mediterranean Region’s were making  
medical travel to Greek also with the intention of praying in front of the ‘Queen of the Heavens’ who can  
sheen and cure all source of diseases. Step by step the medical travel has reached to the present  
20th century stage particularly as an industry. Therefore, medical travel is a practice, whereby individuals  
travel across with the intention of receiving medical care. Medical tourists are motivated to travel by a  
number of factors, including the affordability of care, access to treatments not available at home, and  
wait times for care at home.  
Objectives of the Study  
To find out co-relation between tourism industry and growing employment for local people. Which  
thus generates national wealth for the development of Indian economy..  
To focus on the availability of various enormous potential for tourism in Kerala as a medical vacation  
in terms of healing of mind and body and soul.  
To study the importance of the culture in Kerala attracts tourist for rejuvenation and relaxation  
which further leads health care industries moving towards corporatization.  
To understand mushrooming growth of spas and parlours in Kerala and how misuse of traditional  
herbs is affecting the not only the environment of Kerala but also ethics of tourism business. .  
Methodology of the Study  
Research objectives stated above for the study bare descriptive and exploratory in nature in the present  
study. Looking at the nature of research objectives and research questions, mixed method is used  
which is combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in the present study. Quality assessment  
study is based upon observation of the area, interview of the sample research conducted in Trissur like  
the Kottakal Arya Vaidya Sala in Kerala.  
Literature Review for the Study  
Chawal Romila ,”Cultural Tourism and Development’ 2004,Sonali Publications , New Delhi, suggests  
to promote tourism in India for also promoting the larger goal of peace and harmony around the world.  
In her book , she wrote that if there is any destination in the world which offers the widest choice to  
tourists, it is India. Nature tourism, cultural tourism, exotic tourism, adventure tourism and spiritual  
tourism – we have everything in India to cater to the diverse preferences of domestic and international  
tourists. Tourism engaged as the largest global industry of the 20th century. In the new millennium  
global economy will be governed by technology, telecommunications and tourism. Tourism has potential  
to create maximum number of jobs. According to the assessment, in India alone, 100 million additional  
jobs will be created by the tourism industry in the next 25 years. It helps to earn valuable foreign  
exchange. There has been rat race among the developed and developing countries to expand tourism  
indiscriminately, which has resulted, in severe cultural and ecological damages to the host country.  
Development does not mean increase in GNP and GDP alone. It must add to prosperity and happiness.  
An important feature of the tourism industry is its contribution to the national integration and creation of  
harmonious social and cultural environment. It also encourages respect for and preservation of  
monuments and heritage properties. It should help the promotion of arts, crafts, and cultural and bring  
about prosperity and sustainable development. Thus contribute to the creation of prosperous, healthy  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
and peaceful world order. WTO and UNEP is sparing no efforts to create such a happy scenario. By  
020, tourisms poised to be the single most impotent influence on global trade and commerce.  
Dixit Saurabh, ‘Tourism Development’2005, Reference Press, New Delhi. In her book written that  
tourism has registered a phenomenal growth in India in recent past, so much so that it made the  
government sit up and see the potential of tourism as a large income generating source. Though a lot  
still needs to be improved, but its stride towards progress is continued and has achieved satisfactory,  
the predetermined objectives in its long past journey. Most of the people involved in this trade lack the  
basic pros and cons substantiality.  
Anand Rishi and Gupta Smita (ed),’Medical Tourism a Growth Industry’2008,IcfaiUniversity Press, Tripura,  
discussed on relevant , authoritative and thought provoking articles written by experts , are organized  
in a sequential and logical way that makes reading continuous to acquire a holistic view of the subject.  
The book seeks to provide a retrospective as well as prospective view of the contemporary developments  
in the environment, with emphasis on general and specialized branches of knowledge and applications.  
This book highlights the requirement of a brand image for Indian hospital to cater and attract medical  
tourism. Nearly 7 percent of the patients of Apollo hospitals come from the middle East. The hospitals  
have now set up offices in various countries to channelize patients. With telemedicine , it has become  
easier for patients to keep in touch with the hospitals and facilitate their transfer to hospitals in India.  
The hospital currently devotes nearly 20 percent of their healthcare infrastructure for medical tourism  
Medical Travel in India  
In India, one of the key areas of focus of the next Five Year Plan would be the development of basic  
infrastructure to facilitate the growth of healthcare and medical travel. Ministry of Travel, Government of  
India, had estimated that about 3.5 lakh foreigners were coming to Kerala as tourists in a year. Steps to  
increase the same to 10 lakh with a goal to enhance employment to the educated and also benefit the  
state from an exchange to about 3000 crore rupees were anticipated Thus in this sector the growth rate  
per annum will be about 30% as estimated. In the capital city of Trivandrum, there are few private  
Super Specialty Hospitals which treat the patients coming from Mali etc. They provide a cheaper rate  
as compared to other neighboring nations. This venture could also help stabilize the drained bilateral  
Kerala, is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was formed on 1  
November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions.  
Kerala, India’s Gentle and Exotic south has rightfully earned its title “Gods own country’. Kerala is a  
top tourist destination in India. National Geographic’s Traveler magazine names Kerala as one of the  
ten paradises of the world” and “50 must see destinations of a lifetime”. The Kerala  
Government Travel Department, a government department in charge of promoting travel has adopted  
the slogan God’s Own Country for its campaigns. Cochin Kerala’s largest city is built on a cluster of  
island at the edge of Arabian Sea. Kerala has strongly focused on Ayurveda and its wide array of  
treatments and medications, the advanced practioners of Yoga can control blood pressure, and yoga  
has been proved to cure patients suffering with diabetes, hypertensions and arithritis.  
Major medical travel and health care centres identified in Kerala are in midst of Beaches, Backwaters,  
Ayurveda centres, Wildlife Hill stations and cuisine. The state has potential to offer new products such  
as Tourist package with medical treatment for people from Middle east, natural therapy with yoga and  
oil massage as core offering, no Side effects of medicines with rejunavation of mind and body, cost  
advantage in health care sector, culture and heritage of Kerala ,backwater and health resorts, ancient  
temple and building – an architect marvel.  
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Kerala is called as the Capital of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is medical practice which has its roots in ancient  
India. It has all its medicine made through plants herbs flowers and other natural resource. Ayurveda is  
way of life where all remedies are in nature. Kerala is one state where Ayurveda is practiced as way of  
life. There are homemade medicines for common illness. Turmeric , garlic , clove , Ginger , honey,  
black pepper, tulsi leaves etc are some of the most common kitchen material which has medicinal  
properties. The knowledge to use the same has been passed on from one generation to other by word  
of mouth. There are dozens of Ayurvedic shops and also, availability of “desi” medicinal shops in  
almost every lane in Kerala. Everywhere there is that ancient, pleasant aroma of medicine. There are  
also a good many number of reputed Ayurvedic medicines manufactures and hospitals in Trissur like  
the Kottakal Arya Vaidya Sala. This is managed by team of highly trained, experienced Ayurvedic  
doctors. An Ayurvedic resort in Trissur city is popular for health care. The income generated from  
medical travel industry in Kerala is expected to be worth $ 4 billion by 2017. The Ayurveda sector is  
being pioneered with the whole concept of health travel in Kerala. Major hospitals, health insurance  
companies, policy makers, travel promotion boards, hotels and resorts, health travel and tour operators  
and international institutions are promoting medical travel and health care under one roof. Importance  
is given to traditional Vaidya Sastra ie. Ayurvedic Medical Travel.  
Analysis of Study and Challenges for Kerala in Health Care  
The revival of Ayurveda is visible all over Kerala. However, most practitioners concentrate on the business  
aspect such as collection of and cultivation of herbs, large scale manufacture of medicines, sale,  
distribution and export. Units with little expertise in medicine have mushroomed in Kerala to cash in on  
the growing popularity of traditional system. They escape the arm of law since there is no regulatory  
system to examine and prevent adulterations.  
Ayurvedic Medicine are used as preventive measures for diseases such as rheumatism of various  
types, ulcer, nervous diseases, allergy, psoriasis, eye diseases, diseases normally found among the  
old aged. One of the major disadvantages is the numerous massaging parlours promoting Ayurvedic  
Science and producing ayurvedic brands for promotion illegally. Most herbal plants are collected  
from forest, and the forest areas are shrinking alarmingly.  
Ayurveda (medical travel and health care) medicine is promoted by the luxury hotels and travel  
promoters by offering Ayurvedic packages-a range of Ayurvedic drinks and beverages and food, a  
massage, some oil treatment, a panchakarma therapy session and a few herbal products to take home  
along with the complimentary towel and dressing gown. Some unauthorized Ayurvedic parlours do  
not follow the prescribed norms Many of the treatments are not scientifically designed or do not have  
trained measures .They employ female masseurs to lure clientele.  
Diet regiment for health care is not strictly followed. An equally important component of the treatment  
is the lifestyle of the patient and the herbal supplement is prescribed. This can be provided only by a  
trained Ayurvedic physician ,and such commercialization and exploitation only harm this traditional  
science and poses a serious problem to the future of this holistic system.  
Following are some of the of the measures to promote positive medical travel and health care in Kerala  
] To provide quality treatment and medicine it is necessary to supply genuine Ayurvedic Medicine  
through registered officers as medicine provided to foreign travelers can equally create some additional  
risk, which the government as well as hospital should keep in mind. We also have needed to match  
with the documentation formalities of medical services of developed countries, to be at par with them.  
The government should also include certain insurance policies that would cover all the risks in any  
adverse outcomes of treatment.  
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] Ayurvedic Health Medicine Centers / Parlors be owned by the Government itself and avoid giving  
permission to the Private Sector. There is no doubt that the Ayurvedic Health Travel can contribute  
more advantages in the field of using beautiful nature of the country, earning foreign exchange.  
) The tourist guides should be given proper training information of the specialties of different hospitals  
in the country, so that they can also guide the foreign tourist for the required treatment along with the  
guidance of sightseeing trips. The government should ensure the quality of medical staff, physicians  
and specialist in the medical industry is on par with international standards by adopting the right  
policies in terms of medical education. Moreover the government should streamline infrastructure in  
terms of airline procedures, traffic conditions, quality of roads as well as monitor administration of  
hospitals to avoid uncalled for strikes and slowdowns.  
) The increase in tourist arrivals is the result of aggressive marketing and promotion of the destination  
in road shows and travel and trade fairs, as the state travel board participated in major international  
and domestic travel trade fairs along with the private sectors. The focus on traditional ayurveda,  
backwater boat races, performing arts, cuisines, etc., depicted the same.  
) Foreign tourists have been skipping a long stay in India because of huge taxes India imposes on  
hotels. The mindset to look at hotels as a luxury should change. Instead of having so many taxes,  
efforts should be made to lure more tourists who would help earn more revenues.  
Travel has become a huge business and helps nation in generating revenue. Medical travel and health  
care is becoming popular not only among old people but also in youth. On one side it generates  
benefits to an economy in number of ways like employment to local people, cultural exchange and on  
other side it leads to accumulation of foreign currency. Government of India has recognized the potential  
of medical travel and health care as large income generating source. Kerala is one state which has  
marked its presence in the world as an important and must visit place for medical travel and health  
Chawal Romila ,”Cultural Tourism and Development’ 2004,Sonali Publications , New Delhi  
Chanda, Rupa(2002),”Trade in Health Services “,in trde health services,regional and country  
prospective(Nick Drger,ed).WashingtonDC; PAHO  
Dixit Saurabh, ‘Tourism Development’2005, Reference Press, New Delhi.  
Rishi Anand , Gupta Smit, ed ,(2008); Medical travel; a growth industry IUP Press ,Tripura (West)  
Iyer Kailash Hariharan,(2006);Travel Development In India; Vista International Publishing House;Delhi  
Ron, Kaufman(2005).Up Your Service-Great Ideas .Sinapore RonKaufman Pvt Ltd.  
WHO(2003),”International Migration,Health and Human Rights”, Health and Human Rights Publication  
Series,no.4 p.6.  
Dr. Shashi Mishra : Associate Professore, Dept. of Sociology, R. J. College, Mumbai