Steffi Graf and Kerala Ayurveda – a rather unexpected pairing you would think. But hold on. Kerala Ayurveda’s new face is here for a reason.

Surprisingly it is none from the local pantheon of celebrities including film stars, musicians, sportspersons or other cultural icons that were called upon to promote one of the state’s best selling card this time round. This time it is a face from abroad- a face from a sport that is not very popular in the state. But that fact is no measure of the icon’s popularity. Tennis Legend Steffi Graf is quite popular in the state just as she is the world over and it is this popularity that the Government of Kerala hopes to cash in on.

The state’s cabinet under Chief Minister Mr. Oommen Chandy recently sanctioned the Kerala Tourism Department to sign on the Tennis Icon as Kerala Ayurveda’s brand ambassador as part o fthe department’s ’Visit Kerala Scheme’ aimed at pulling in more foreign exchange in the form of tourists.

Steffi Graf and Kerala Ayurveda- Possible Reasons for the Choice:

So what was the though behind making quite an unexpected change when it comes to promoting this ancient healthcare tradition?

  1. The fact that recently Ayurveda has been gaining popularity abroad, as evident from the immense popularity of the Kerala Pavilion’s Ayurveda stalls at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition, and the 2015 Arabian Travel Market.
  2. European countries are turning to Ayurveda as a serious system of alternative medicine and Switzerland has even gone as far as making Ayurveda officially a part of the Swiss Healthcare System.
  3. Ayurveda’s growing popularity as a sports medicine, an avenue hitherto not given much thought.

So basically, the choice of the German tennis icon whose popularity goes beyond nation and sport is with an eye of the foreign tourist, rather than the desi ones.

Kerala already has an influx of medical tourists seeking Ayurvedic treatment and with the system going at the global scene scene at full blast with its new brand ambassador, things are only going to look up for Ayurveda in the state.

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