Business Times

Attracting tourists and other foreigners to Ayurvedic medicine

By Quintus Perera

The Sri Lankan Government is moving ahead to make 2011 – the ‘ Visit Sri Lanka 2011’ year aimed at taking full advantage of the peace dividend.

Dr Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority and Tourism Promotion Bureau, addressing the media this week in Colombo at the launch of “Ayurveda Expo – 2011” to be held in July 2011, said that this year’s tourist arrivals would reach 580,000 and with the steady increase, in a matter of four to five years the authorities expect to meet the target of 2.5 million tourists in Sri Lanka.

He said the difficulty in coping with the tourist influx would be the lack of room capacity and it would be a hindrance to go ahead at once. He said that they have planned to increase the room capacity with another 25,000 to 30,000 rooms in the next few years.

Dr Godahewa said that Ayurvedic treatment that entails several other activities like Yoga, meditation, spa, etc are all tourist attractions and thus they would be promoting that aspect too in their comprehensive travel trade programme.

Making an introduction and an insight into Ayurveda Expo 2011, Asoka Hettigoda, Senior Deputy President, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Chairman, Ayurveda 2011 Committee said that Ayurveda is not only a treatment for sicknesses but it approaches human life in four areas such as Ayurveda treatment, meditation, health food and wellness which are not found in some foreign countries. Foreigners therefore love to enjoy these aspects which would be a big boost for the travel industry in Sri Lanka.

Piyasena Gamage, Minister of Indigenous Medicine speaking as chief guest, said that since ancient times Ayurveda or indigenous medicine was practiced and expertise of this practice descended from generation to generation. The government provides all the encouragement to develop this indigenous medical practice and he said that they expect to do it with the help of the private sector.

C. Lal de Alwis, President, NCCSL said that with the experience they have gained through the previous two Ayurvedic Exhibitions they have taken several steps in the right direction to make this event too a great success.

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