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' Wellness centres' to bring in affluent foreign tourists.

EVER since The Beatles arrived in Rishikesh in the spring of 1968 in search of spiritual enlightenment, India has always drawn weary foreigners.

Now, the ministry of tourism is developing Haridwar and Rishikesh in the Himalayan foothills and Pondicherry along the Bay of Bengal as " wellness destinations" for the well- heeled and the travel- weary foreign tourist.

To raise the quality of service to match international standards, the ministry has framed new guidelines to standardise traditional Indian healing practices, including ayurveda, yoga, siddha and naturopathy.

The guidelines, framed by the department of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy ( AYUSH), the health ministry and the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Services -- will be unveiled on Tuesday. These will set the standard for granting accreditation to wellness centres in the country.

Officials say most wellness centres lack skilled manpower, resulting in poor service. " We hope the increased professionalism will result in more visits and longer stays," ministry officials said.

The guidelines recommend training curricula for therapists, health standards and proper accreditation procedures, in a similar manner as hospitals.

They will cover yoga and ayurveda wellness centres, spas, cosmetic and preventive health care centres, gymns.

Called ' Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centres', the guidelines focus on customer rights, infection control practices, trained staff, environment safety and statutory compliance.

The centres that receive accreditation will be named on the ministry's website.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Feb 15, 2011
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