Sri Lanka’s Ayurveda healthcare has been a key attraction of high end tourist market. “Lately, the Japanese travel sector has shown stronger interest in Sri Lanka’s Ayurveda tourism. Last week a Japanese Member of Parliament touring Sri Lanka also has expressed of Japan’s interest in Sri Lanka’s Ayurvedic care for Japanese medical tourists,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.
Minister was addressing the simultaneous launch event of AROGYA 2014 and INTRAD 2014 at BMICH. The AROGYA series of exhibitions were introduced by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Ministry of Health and features indigenous medicinal products and services. Attending the twin expo were delegations and participants from Vietnam, Thailand, India, Maldives and China. This is the first time that the twin events are held at once.
Since the end of conflict in 2009, Japanese tourists to Sri Lanka have doubled. In 2013, more than 31,500 Japanese tourists visited Sri Lanka. In the same year, Japan ranked 11th in arrivals to Sri Lanka as per tourists’ country of residence, immediately below USA, which ranked 10th.
“Already a Sri Lankan Ayurveda product brand has earned global reputation with its treatment centres being located in Europe. Today’s Arogya also takes place along with good news for this industry. I am given to understand that Japanese travel sector has shown stronger interest in Sri Lanka’s Ayurveda tourism. Last week a Japanese Member of Parliament touring Sri Lanka also has expressed of Japan’s interest in Sri Lanka’s Ayurvedic care for Japanese medical tourists. Our tourism sector reported more than 1.2 million arrivals in 2013,” said Minister Bathiudeen.
“Since medical tourism is at the middle of several sectors such as tourism, healthcare and inbound travel packaging, we believe that Public Private Partnerships are a good way to strengthen this promising sector so that our government’s goals in tourism related hub synergies are leveraged well.
These twin events have been, gaining gradual recognition, among our business community, as successful networking events, in Colombo. With only a per capita healthcare expenditure of $ 175, at first Sri Lanka does not appear to have an advanced healthcare infrastructure similar to the developed countries. However, this does not show us the full picture.
Several international participants at the expo expressed Sri Lanka is a new opening for them. “Coming here from Vietnam for the first time, we did not know that Sri Lanka market has big such potential for our line of products” said Le Viet Anh (Business Director of Alpha International Food JSC) based in Yen Phong, Vietnam. We are interested in potential joint ventures at distribution level here for our health confectionaries, which are based on tropical fruits,” he said
Alpha International Food is a top confectionary producer in Vietnam reporting annual revenues exceeding US $ 80 mn.