The Kerala-based Punarnava Ayurveda Hospital will focus on the unexplored markets of CIS countries, Russia and South Africa for the promotion of medical tourism in the State.

AM Anwar, Chairman and Managing Director of Punarnava, told BusinessLine that there has been a considerable shift in Russian medical tourist arrivals to Kerala from Goa for ayurvedic treatment in the last two years.

The growth was nearly 70 per cent and the majority of Russians seek treatment for arthritis, rheumatism, vitamin D deficiency, psoriasis etc, the diseases associated with cold weather conditions.

Russian medical tourist arrivals in groups would facilitate further promotion of medical tourism in Kerala throughout the year.

Russians used to come between September and February when it is freezing cold weather there.

He pointed out that Kerala’s medical tourism has been primarily dependent on West Asian tourists, both for ayurveda and allopathic curative treatment. In the last 10 years, the flow from this region has increased 200 times.

Tie-up with Saudi firm

Punarnava, which is celebrating its silver jubilee this month, has recently inked a deal with Saudi-based healthcare and tourism firm Al-Hokair group to set up 20 ayurveda rehabilitation centres in the Gulf, Egypt and Turkey as well as expanding its footprint in the ayurveda hospitality sector in Kerala. The joint venture group proposed to invest ₹300 crore in Kerala’s ayurvedic hospitality sector to set up a hospitality chain with global standards.

Punarnava, which received the medical value traveller award from Ficci and CII, is all set to open its second treatment facility in Sri Lanka in May. The first centre in the island nation was started in 2014.