"The state has immense potential to develop the scope of health tourism in the country. If Kerala is able to cater to
the growing demands of health tourism, it can surely become the hub and one of the most preferred destinations in the world for prospective and potential health tourists," Cooray said after inaugurating the two-day conference and exhbition on 'Health Tourism' here.
Kerala is famous for its traditional alternative treatments such as Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Yoga. It is estimated that by 2012, India could achieve a target of 200 crore dollars a year in medical tourism sector, which would constitute about 8 per cent of GDP, he said. Thus in this sector, growth rate per annum would be around 30 per cent, as per estimates, he said.
With the tourism sector bouncing back after the recent downturn, opportunities in innovative concepts like Health Tourism, Ayurveda and Eco Tourism need to be explored, Cooray said.
The minister also invited investors to participate in the 3-day 'Sri Lanka Expo' to be held in the island nation from March 28 next year.
Chairman of Kerala Health Tourism 2011, Dr Philip Augustine, said India had the potential to attract one million health tourists a year, which would contribute USD 5 billion to the economy. The CII-McKinsey report has suggested medical tourism could bring in as much as USD 2 billion by 2012 as compared to an estimated USD 333 million by 2006-07, he said.
Kerala was attracting medical tourists for health restorative treatments through a combination of Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Yoga, Herbal massages and natural therapies, Augustine, who is also Managing Director and CEO of Lakeshore Hospital and Research Centre Ltd, said.