Yoga Ambassadors Tour is all set to begin on June 14
Yoga Ambassador’s Tour is all set to begin on June 14th with an aim to propagate Kerala as a global destination. Around 60-plus Yoga professionals from across the world will be a part of the tour. ATTOI (Association of Tourism Trade Organizations, India), in association with Ministry of Ayush and Kerala Tourism, is organising the tour, which is first-of-its-kind in the world.
Kerala is believed to be the birthplace of yoga and the ‘Muniyara dolmens’ are believed to be the evidence for this. The dolmens which are 4000-5000 years old are considered as the remains of the Neolithic Age.
The 10-day educational tour, Yoga Ambassadors Tour, is organised as part of the various programmes organised by the ministry on the International Yoga Day.
Yoga Tour operators, Wellness Magazine professionals, and Yoga Teachers from across the world are being invited for familiarizing the global audience about Kerala and it’s richness. The Yoga Ambassadors were selected by a team of experts based on specific criteria and experience. The Yoga Ambassador Tour will commence on June 14 from Thiruvananthapuram and will conclude on June 21 on the International Yoga Day in Kochi.
Yoga Ambassador’s Tour will be inaugurated by Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State, (I/C), Ministry of AYUSH Government of India at 9 am at the Leela Raviz on June 14. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala, will deliver the keynote address. Shashi Tharoor MP, M Vincent MLA, Ayush Ministry Joint Secretary Ranjith Kumar, Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George, Kerala Tourism Director P Balakiran IAS, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director, R Rahul, IATO Vice President E M Najeeb, Kerala Travel Mart President Baby Mathew, ATTOI President Anish Kumar P K, and Kerala Tourism Additional Director Jafar Malik will also participate in the inaugural function.
International Yoga Conference
The team will participate in an International Yoga Conference chaired by Mangaluru University Head Dr Krishna Sharma. Session on Philosophical Foundations of Yoga will be chaired by Dr. Krishna Sharma, Professor, Department of Yoga, Mangalore University.
Dr. B.R. Sharma from Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla will speak about Yoga in ancient scriptures whereas Dr. Yogi Sivan will explain about Hatha Yoga Parampara and Dr Alwar, Professor of Nyaya, Maharaja Sanskrit College, Mysore will talk about Yoga in Darshanas. The second session, Science Behind Yoga, will be chaired by Dr M V Bhole, Former Jt. Director (Research), Kaivalyadhama and Yogi Jayadevan, Universal Yoga Consciousness, Ollur, Kerala.
Dr. Naveen K V, Director, FAITHS, Bengaluru will speak about Psycho-neuro-immunology and Yoga, and Dr. Meena Ramanathan, Deputy Director, CYTER, SBV, Pondicherry and Dr. Shivarama Varambally, Professor of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, will speak about Yoga Therapy: Its principles & practices and Yoga & Mental Health – A neuroscientific perspective, respectively. The sessions will be followed by a cultural evening.
On June 15, the yoga Ambassadors will have an excursion tour and an interactive session on yoga at Sivananda Ashram at Neyyar in Trivandrum before they proceed to Kanyakumari. The Yoga Ambassadors will visit Amritapuri (the abode of Mata Amrithanandamayi) on June 16 and head to Alappuzha to experience the much-famed houseboat ride in the backwaters. On the way to Kumarakom, the team will be having a traditional Kerala-style ‘sadya’ in the houseboat. The tour will reach Thekkady on June 17 and will have a hands-on experience in Kalaripayattu, the traditional martial artform of Kerala. After visiting Aranya Nivas on June 18, the team will head to the misty hills of Munnar. Munnar Muniyara dolmens will be visited on June 19, followed by a cultural night and dinner organized by Munnar Destination Makers. On June 20, the team will reach Kochi, where they will experience a sunset cruise in Kochi backwaters.
On the World Yoga Day, (June 21), the team will participate in Mass Drill Yoga early morning at the Kochi Marriott in Edappally and will visit the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue and Fort Kochi. The team will meet the tourism stakeholders during a networking dinner where the Little chef Kicha will be hounoured. The tour will conclude following a cultural event lead by popular south cine actress and dancer Navya Nair.
Promoting Kerala as a yoga destination
Kerala has been long promoted as an Ayurveda and Wellness destination. However, the possibilities of yoga remain untapped. It is this context that ATTOI proposes the Yoga Ambassador’s Tour to promote Kerala as a global destination for yoga. With Ayurveda and Wellness centres and the lush green locales, Kerala is sure to be the perfect destination for a rejuvenating trip once yoga tourism also comes into picture.
Eyeing 15% growth in 2018
Kerala aims 15% increase in tourist footfalls in the current financial year. Tourist arrivals to the state in the last year saw a growth of 10.94%. The state tourism department is planning to promote Kerala as a 365-day destination. With the launch of LULU Bolgatty Convention Centre in Kochi, the state is also poised to grow as an MICE destination. Domestic tourists are mostly arriving from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal and Delhi. Travellers from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have also started coming to Kerala.
International tourists from UK, France, Italy, Spain and Ireland are the major contributors to Kerala Tourism. Off late US, Canada, Gulf, South East Asia travellers have also started flocking to God’s Own Country. Tourism sector constitutes around 10% of Kerala’s GDP and contributes around 11.19% to the direct employment in the state.