Discovering the wealth of wellness in India

Pandemic shifts focus on mind, body and soul

Tourism

May 26, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Discovering the wealth of wellness in India

Wellness market in India is valued at INR 490 billion, says a report by FICCI (Photo: Kairali)

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the meaning of healthcare and wellness, from sickness-and-care perspective to preventive healthcare and overall well-being. This shift in people’s attitudes has led to a drastic growth of the wellness market ranging from the rising demand of Ayurvedic products to increasing interest in wellness tourism.

For the longest time, Indians have viewed healthcare as something that is only to be focussed on in times of illness. However, with the onset of the pandemic, people have started to realise the importance of a comprehensive and holistic approach towards a fit mind and body.

India’s 443 million millennials spend an average of INR 4,000 per month on health and wellness services and products, says a latest report by Numb Research, an Indian market research firm. With people being stuck at home during the pandemic-induced lockdown, home fitness has become more prevalent especially among millennials, for whom health and happiness is a priority, causing huge online sale of home gym equipment along with that of masks, sanitisers, multivitamins and other essentials.

“Presently, people are giving utmost priority to health as everyone has understood that to keep the body going, you have to give a part of your daily routine to your physical and mental health in order to perform daily tasks and survive any pandemic situation,” Abhishek Bansal, a Delhi based yoga expert and naturopath tells Media India Group.

People have been adapting to new mediums of fitness and healthcare through online yoga sessions and consumption of natural ayurvedic products to strengthen their body’s immune defences.

“I receive dozens of request from all over the world on daily basis for personal yoga sessions as well as group sessions. Even though I believe that online sessions are not as affective when it comes to yoga and meditation due to various reasons but we cannot ignore the fact that during lockdown, online sessions have helped people a lot in connecting with the trainers and staying fit both mentally and physically,” says Bansal.

With this shift in attitude and renewed stress on holistic well-being, nutrition and rejuvenation in the aftermath of the pandemic, increasing number of people have begun taking breaks to build their immunity. Wellness tourism in India is slated to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 pc by 2022 which is higher than the projected 6.4 pc rate for the annual growth of overall global tourism, says a report by the Global Wellness Institute, a non-profit organisation.

“Yoga retreat camps were always there and were pretty much known to the upper section of society but after lockdown when every single person is tired of sitting at home and just wants to move out, yoga retreats are surely a best way to give oneself a refreshing treat,” says Bansal.

“Ever since the pandemic began, people have suffered mentally and physically and have been subjected to a sedentary lifestyle. The combination of daily meditation, yoga, stretching, mantra chanting and trekking provides a fulfilling physical activity and soothes the mind. I am planning such a trip soon,” Ananya Dhawan, a Delhi-based law student tells Media India Group.

Wellness tourism, which was earlier considered as a niche concept is set to become mainstream due to the drastic change in people’s lifestyle. India is perceived as one of the ideal destinations for wellness tourism globally. The ancient practices of ayurveda, meditation, yoga, panchakarma, naturopathy and holistic health are among the experiences sought by wellness travellers. The form of tourism already prevalent among international travellers is starting to gain momentum among local tourists as well.

“Wellness tourism is more prevalent in foreigners. Every year thousands of foreign tourists visit Rishikesh just to stay in retreats, practice meditation and connect with nature. Kerala is also quiet famous among foreign tourists for ayurvedic treatment and panchkarma therapies. The number of Indians travelling for wellness is less than foreign tourists but this number will change in coming years as wellness is becoming our priority now especially after the pandemic,” adds Bansal.

Besides tourism wellness market has also been booming, thanks to the pandemic. A report by FICCI estimates that the wellness market in India is valued at INR 490 billion. Many tourism resorts have also started to produce and sell their own tourism products to grab a slice of the pie.

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