Abhilash Kumar

Managing Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group

Interview

March 2, 2016

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A Transforming Ayurvedic Experience

Abhilash Kumar, Managing Director, Kairali Ayruvedic Group

Abhilash Kumar, Managing Director, Kairali Ayruvedic Group

With a presence of more than 25 years in India, Kairali, an Ayurvedic healing village, is one of its kind. The resort plans to introduce new experiences and also innovate the infrastructure to give it a modern look.

What are the new trends in the domestic and the international tourism market?

A lot of people are getting more socially responsible. They want to use sustainable properties; it is not about luxury anymore. They want to know why they are going and where they are going and how sustainable the property is. They want to eat the local cuisine and explore not so popular destinations. Not just Agra, Ooty and Shimla, they want to travel to small cities and towns where people have not been before or beaches that not many people know about. Also, people are now more health conscious. So these are some of the new trends.

How has the response been at last year’s ITB for you?

ITB is one of the largest expositions in the world so we meet a lot of existing operators. Germany is one of our biggest markets. There is a lot of contracting between the current operators and there were some new operators, which we noticed but we noticed that some of the older names have disappeared over the few years.

How is the international market evolving?

The international market has slightly slowed down in comparison to the domestic that has increased tremendously. Europe and the UK have slowed down a little bit but the domestic market and the Far East have definitely grown over the years.

Which have been the top five domestic markets for you in the past few years?

For top five, it would be difficult. Okay for top four I can say that it is definitely Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, which have been the largest markets. Bangalore and Chennai, being very close to our assets. It is just a 30-minutes flight from the place to the destination, so we have had a lot of focus in Bangalore by promoting programmes, where we have done free check ups and treatments for 5,000 people has helped us in the last few years.

What about the top international markets?

The top international market that has always been and I think will continue to be is Germany. They do understand Ayurveda, and they are quite educated in terms of what Ayurveda can do and not do and where to go for good Ayurvedic treatments and all. They are very well- versed with that.

How has been the performance and the growth through the years?

For us personally, the growth has been quite good. We have done good especially in 2014, when we registered a 30 pc growth, and 2015 has also seen sustained growth. This year should witness a different growth over the last year.

What are the challenges that you face?

One challenge we face is the negative PR. Also one of the biggest challenges we faced is the infrastructure. It was quite hard but then the facilities have helped. The civil infrastructure has helped in the plantation of herbs and for us Ayurveda has to be recognised as a valid medicine. The medical expenses, is also a challenge, but at times the agencies would help us.

What are the plans for ITB 2016?

This year we are showcasing our new renovated property in Kerala. And we also won the India’s leading spa resort award by the world travel awards, so we are showcasing both these things there. We have our own stand, it’s a big monumental change and it is great that since 1987 this is the first time we have renovated ourselves.

What’s new about the property?

It’s the same property in Kerala, but we have completely demolished it and constructed new rooms. It is completely renovated and updated with new halls after 20 years to give it a modern look.

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