Ayurveda medicine, based on the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Vedas, is one of the fastest growing forms of alternative medicine in the Western world. At the same time, one of the fastest growing hospitality ventures in the United States is that of Ayurveda tourism, a “trending small business idea” that only requires a “moderate capital investment.” (99businessideas.com) The basic concept of Ayurveda medicine is that it takes a holistic approach to the body. (Sharma) Symptoms of illness are understood as the body tellling the individual that something is wrong and needs to be changed. (Sharma) Thus, Ayurveda tries to achieve balance, based on the idea that the mind body and spirit are intimately connected. (Sharma) Ayurveda medicine encourages numerous health techniques, such as exercise, but also healthy eating, massage, meditation and breathing exercises. (O’Connor)
Ayurveda tourism is heavily promoted in India, inviting tourists to make the long journey across the Pacific Ocean to Ayurveda health resorts. (Thomas) Bringing this idea to the United States context takes the advantages of Ayurveda practices closer to the American consumer. In our goal-oriented times, many people also want their holiday experience to not only be a “pause button” in their daily routines, but something productive and beneficial. The Ayurveda experience combines both this desire in a relaxing, self-improvement environment, encouraging good health as well as physical and spiritual development.
The tenets of the Ayurveda medicine are ideal, I believe, for a type of health-centered tourism experience. Clearly, a calm and peaceful location is needed for the physical site of the Ayurveda wellness center. Somewhere in California, isolated in nature, perhaps along the coast, would be ideal to capture this type of atmosphere. The California location is also perfect because laws in California, such as the Health Freedom Act of 2003, which allows for licensed Ayurveda practice. (Sharma) The main concept would be to offer structured tourist packages with a program of Ayurveda treatments to the consumer in a beautiful and soothing environment, a type of wellness resort. The diversity of Ayurveda practices makes for an enriched program for the visitor. For example, various packages would include daily yoga and meditation sessions, spas and saunas for the “sweating” practice, and massages. Another advantage of the Ayurveda practice is that it emphasizes a healthy diet. Exquisite healthy meals would be offered to the customer, all cooked in line with the basic principles of the Ayurveda method. For leisure, a swimming pool could also be part of the overall set up. The actual Ayurveda wellness center itself would be more boutique in scope, perhaps offering place for 100 guests at a time. This would encourage a more intimate setting and allow the wellness center to have a more communal feel.
In order to begin the project, clearly one of the key elements would be to have certified Ayurveda practitioners. This is not problematic since there are already many institutions that offer certification in the United States. In addition, taking advantage of the global open market, it could also be possible to arrange for practitioners from India to also work at the Ayurveda wellness center. As mentioned, since capital requirements are not high in this hospitality industry, it would be possible to concentrate on getting the best instructors and practitioners. Ayurveda, as an ancient technique, does not require much modern technology or other ungainly overhead costs: it is about knowledge of mind and the body. Initial capital could thus be concentrated in making the wellness center resort as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The main target audience would be precisely those people who are want holidays that improve them as individuals.
- 99BusinessIdeas Desk. “Top 30+ Hospitality and Business Ideas.” 99businessideas.com. March 30, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017 at https://99businessideas.com/hospitality-and-tourism-business-ideas/
- O’Connor, Bess. “15 Ayurvedic Practices to Improve Your Health.” www.chopra.com n.d. Retrieved May 7, 2017 at http://www.chopra.com/articles/15-ayurvedic-practices-to-improve-your-
- Sharma, Akhilesh. “Ayurveda in the U.S.” Ayurveda Magazine. May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2017 at http://ayurvedamagazine.org/ayurveda-in-the-us/
- Thomas, Edwin. “Ayurveda Tourism in India.” U.S. Today. n.d. Retrieved May 7, 2017 at http://traveltips.usatoday.com/ayurvedic-tourism-india-9914.html