Kerala to rope in Steffi as Ayurveda envoy

Kerala to rope in Steffi as Ayurveda envoy

Kerala to rope in Steffi as Ayurveda envoy

Ayurveda, Kerala’s most celebrated healthcare system  is set for a famous German connection with the state Cabinet deciding to rope in German tennis icon Steffi Graf as its brand ambassador. 

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters on Wednesday that the Tourism Department was firming up an agreement with Graf to be the face of Ayurveda-centric campaigns under the Visit Kerala 2015 programme.

The state government is learnt to be entering a two-year contract, with $600,000 (about Rs 3.8 crore) as remuneration to the 46-year-old Graf, winner of 22 Grand Slam singles titles. With Graf as brand ambassador, the state expects to market Ayurveda more “aggressively” and beat emerging competition from countries, including Sri Lanka. Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar said it was a step forward in regaining the “monopoly” in Ayurveda-driven tourism.

Kerala is also set to launch the second phase of ‘Kerala – Home of Ayurveda’ campaign in select international markets including Germany.
“Germans form a major chunk of the number of tourists who visit Kerala. The idea was to have a globally celebrated icon as the face of Ayurveda tourism in the state and take on competitors like Sri Lanka where Ayurveda is increasingly getting pegged to tourism,” the minister told Deccan Herald.

The minister said the remuneration offered in the agreement was “very low” compared to Graf’s other brand endorsements but the legendary player had agreed on it because she had interest in the Ayurveda system of healthcare.

The state Department of Tourism has, over the past few years, revisited strategies to market destinations during the traditionally dull monsoon months – June to September – by retuning its Ayurveda packages.

Anilkumar said Graf had already expressed willingness to associate with Kerala’s tourism campaign and the agreement was “almost finalised”. 

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