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Steffi Graf roped in as brand ambassador of Ayurveda in Kerala

MUMBAI: German tennis legend Steffi Graf has been roped in by the Kerala Tourism Department to be the brand ambassador for Ayurveda.

Graf will endorse the state government’s upcoming campaign to promote Ayurveda. The 46-year-old, who has 22 Grand Slam singles titles to her credit, will endorse print campaigns and television commercials to promote Ayurveda in national and international tourist circuits.

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy told reporters, “The Kerala tourism department was given sanction to sign an agreement with Graf to become Ayurveda brand ambassador as part of the department’s ‘Visit Kerala Scheme’. The proposal had come from the state Tourism Department and a formal agreement on this would be reached with Steffi Graf soon.”

The tourism department had already held discussions and reached an agreement with the German former World number one tennis player. Now a formal signing of the agreement will take place as per the convenience of the tennis star.

The idea behind appointing the tennis legend is to promote the ancient system of traditional health care by wooing the tourists who are coming from abroad. After consulting with Graf, the tourism department will be charting out a series of programmes to launch the campaign outside India.

A report in the Hindu mentions that the quest for an eminent sports personality to endorse Ayurveda, one of the prized tourism offerings of Kerala, started after enquiries came to provide treatment and therapy to injured Brazilian footballer Neymar in Kerala during the World Cup last year.

The endorsement by Graf comes at a time when Kerala Tourism is observing ‘Visit Kerala Year’ to attract more tourists to the state. With this, Kerala Tourism’s decades-long search for a brand ambassador to promote the destination and its tourism offerings has met with partial success.

Kerala’s Ayurveda, an ancient system of health care which is famous for its holistic effect on body and mind, attracts a large number of people from the country and abroad every year.

In 2012, tourism authorities failed in their effort to rope in cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador. Before that, they tried to rope in megastar Amitabh Bachchan. Though Bachchan agreed to lend his name in 2006, the central leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) shot down the state plan, saying the actor was already the brand ambassador of Gujarat, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.