`God's own country` mulls strict norms for tourist spas

Thiruvananthapuram: With medical tourism thriving in the state, the Kerala government is planning to make licensing and classification regime strict for house boatspas, homestays and ayurvedic resorts to ensure "quality" of services rendered to visitors.

Though some of the guidelines are already in existence for the licensing and classification of houseboats and homestays, tourism authorities are aware that there are loose ends in their implementation.

A few houseboats and home stays, especially in Kerala`s aqua tourism hub Alappuzha, are found to be wanting in the prescribed amenities, Tourism department sources said.

The industry is also keen on putting in place clear-cut regulations to ensure quality of service delivered which is vital to the growth of medical tourism.

"Kerala has great potential for medical tourism as it combines both the centuries old tradition of ayurveda and natural setting for world class spas. However, illegal and unregulated mushrooming of spas and resorts have been causing concern not only to the authorities, but also to genuine and serious entrepreneurs," a leading house boat operator in Alappuzha said.

The pressure from the industry and the need to keep the high standard of Kerala`s brand image of `God`s Own Country` are the prime compulsions for tightening the regulations, Tourism Director Rani George said.


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