In a first, the government today issued a set of guidelines to standardise the quality of service at wellness platforms which include yoga and naturopathy centres among others. The accreditation standard issued by the ministry of tourism has been formulated by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH). It focuses on all aspects of service delivery like customer rights and education, infection control practises, trained and experienced staff, infrastructure, environment safety, processes and controls, statutory and regulatory compliances etc. Wellness platforms include spas, ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, fitness and skin care centres among others.
A ‘Mark of Excellence’ will be provided to the accredited centres which will provide confidence to tourists and locals that the centres are providing services as per global standards and by credentialed staff. A deterrent to a slew of such centres cropping up across the country, the accreditation, say ministry officials will raise community confidence in services provided by the organisation, stimulate continuous improvement of the organisation and provide an objective system of evaluation and empanelment by third parties.
The accreditation process would involve review of the documentation and two on-site visits by trained assessors from NABH. Communication will be maintained throughout the entire process between the applicant organisation and NABH, thereby making the entire process transparent. Renewal of accreditation has to be done every three years.
Strict guidelines have been provided for such centres while seeking accreditation and delay in providing any information to NABH could lead to cancellation of the application for accreditation. While the accreditation exercise is a voluntary program, the ministry has incentivised it, making it worth their while for such centres to seek NABH’s mark of excellence.
Wellness centres abiding by the guidelines will be listed on ‘Incredible India’ website with a link to their own web page, making it a credible destination for tourists. They will have the right to display NABH ‘Mark of Excellence’ and the ministry of tourism approved logo at appropriate locations.
The centres will also be able to participate in the ministry’s road shows, nationally and internationally, and also receive financial support under the existing guidelines for Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme for Wellness Tourism Service Providers (WTSP).
Under this, financial assistance would be permissible on travel expenses by air from India to any other country and by air/rail from one country to another, in economy excursion class fair and/or charges of the built up furnished stall, electricity and water charges subject to a maximum of 75 per cent of the total expenditure or Rs 2 lakh, whichever is less under the WTSP.
Up to three visits for two persons from accredited wellness centres and AYUSH hospitals will also be given aid to participate in international events for up to Rs 6 lakh per year.
For domestic events too, the ministry will provide financial support for four seminars/events in a financial year, with a ceiling of Rs 10 lakh each on a 50:50 sharing basis. The accredited centres will also get financial support for developing publicity material with the ministry providing financial assistance of 67:33 sharing basis, subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 lakh a year.