Healing Horizons: Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s Odyssey into Tourism and Ayurveda
A healing journey that began in India thousands of years ago by the sages of yore is today known all over the world. This ancient rejuvenation mantra has become a brand in itself and has become a buzzword in the hospitality industry. In this vibrant tapestry, this entrepreneur par excellence stands head and shoulders above others of his ilk.
Meet Baby Mathew Somatheeram, a trailblazing visionary who has been instrumental in reshaping Ayurveda tourism in the state. His efforts have not only transformed Ayurveda into a formidable brand but have also positioned him as a global advocate for its widespread recognition. Baby Mathew stands as a key figure in the promotion and global acceptance of Ayurveda, marking a significant milestone in its journey to becoming a renowned and trusted tradition worldwide.
Devoted to Advocating Ayurveda
Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s journey intricately weaves time-honoured healing traditions with a steadfast commitment to sustainability. Baby Mathew’s narrative unfurls across a multifaceted landscape, where film production, ventures in tourism, environmental stewardship, and passionate advocacy for Ayurveda converge into an amazing testament to rewriting the destiny of Ayurveda and tourism. It goes without saying that Baby Mathew, along with his late brother Polly Mathew, was instrumental in advancing Ayurveda and tourism on both national and international fronts.
A postgraduate in Business Administration, Baby Mathew Somatheeram has a proven track record in various capacities. His remarkable contribution extends to promoting Ayurveda and its holistic potential in approximately 60 countries, spanning the Scandinavian nations, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States. His active participation in numerous national and international Health and Ayurveda seminars underscores his commitment to promoting holistic well-being.
A Journey with a Vision
At the core of Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s vision lies a seamless fusion of Ayurvedic therapies with the resplendence of nature. This vision led to the germination of the Somatheeram Ayurveda Group in 1985. Today, it shines as a beacon of excellence comprising the esteemed Somatheeram Ayurveda Village, Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Village, and Ayursoma Ayurveda Royal Retreat—acclaimed institutions accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH). When asked about the triumphs and trials encountered while introducing Ayurvedic treatments to a global audience through the innovative concept of Ayurveda Hospital in a Resort ambience, he said: “Our triumphs emanate from our ability to introduce the splendor of Ayurvedic treatment to visitors from across the globe.”
Yet, beyond the realm of Ayurveda, Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s initiatives transcend conventional boundaries, encompassing a harmonious union between tourism development and ecological sustainability. From pioneering cutting-edge biotech toilets in houseboats to nurturing bird-watching facilities and advocating for organic farming, the Somatheeram Group has set unprecedented standards in eco-conscious practices within the tourism industry thus becoming a trendsetter of sorts. The Somatheeram group comprises 42 Ayurvedic doctors, over 200 Ayurveda therapists, and 12 yoga masters.Patients and guests from more than 60 nations around the world visit the Somatheeram, making it a truly diverse and international destination.
Thanks to Baby Mathew’s peerless stewardship, Somatheeram Ayurveda Group has garnered prestigious accolades. They include the coveted ‘India’s Best Ayurvedic Centre’ title awarded by the Indian Government, along with the esteemed ‘HALL of FAME’ honour, which it received six times. Additionally, the group has been honoured 11 times with the title of ‘Kerala State’s Best Ayurvedic Centre’ by the government. Showcasing Ayurveda and Yoga sectors, Somatheeram has achieved 32 major international and national awards. These accolades are proof enough of Baby Mathew’s dedication and the group’s commitment to delivering outstanding services to promote holistic health and well-being.
Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s journey in establishing Ayurvedic Villages was a thrilling endeavour, marked by both excitement and challenges. From logistical hurdles involving infrastructure development in remote areas to navigating through complex marketing landscapes, the obstacles he faced were manifold. However, rather than being deterred, he saw these hurdles as opportunities to refine his approach and further amplify his passion for showcasing the magnificence of Ayurveda.
His relentless dedication was palpable in every aspect of the project. He meticulously crafted strategies to address logistical concerns, ensuring that the resorts not only sustained themselves but also thrived in these initially desolate landscapes. Simultaneously, Baby Mathew’s innovative marketing endeavours aimed to captivate and educate the world about the richness and efficacy of eons-old Ayurvedic practices.
Lending an Ayurvedic Touch to Tourism
Ultimately, Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s mission wasn’t just about establishing Ayurveda Villages; it was about painting a vibrant canvas that portrayed the splendor of Ayurveda before a global audience. His passion became the driving force, breathing life into every decision and action taken on this journey. Through perseverance, creativity, and an unwavering belief in his mission, this astute businessman transformed challenges into stepping stones towards realizing his vision of showcasing Ayurveda’s timeless magnificence before the world.
However, Baby Mathew Somatheeram’s aspirations extend far beyond the success of the Somatheeram Group. He envisions harnessing India’s rich heritage in Ayurveda and Yoga to their utmost potential, stressing the urgent need for comprehensive documentation and global recognition of this timeless way of healing. Also being the Global Vice President of World Malayalee Council, he emphasizes the pivotal role of governments in facilitating the international acceptance of this profound healing system.
Baby Mathew’s impactful role in Ayurveda is complemented by his pivotal leadership in the Kerala Travel Mart Society. His contributions have propelled the Travel Mart to global recognition, fostering collaborations and highlighting the state’s vast tourism potential. It has played an instrumental role in the rapid development of tourism, with Baby Mathew serving as the president for three consecutive two-year terms unopposed. Currently a member of the Executive Committee, he continues to play a key role in steering the society towards sustained growth, leaving an enduring mark on Kerala’s tourism landscape. In addition to his accomplishments, he has also held the position of President of the Kerala Athletic Association continuously for three terms and currently serves as its patron. Along with this he is currently the President of the Kerala Childrens Union Society.
Tryst with Television and Tinsel Town
Baby Mathew is also the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Jeevan Satellite Communications Limited. Under his able stewardship, Kochi-based Jeevan TV has been able to introduce many innovations. It charted history by becoming the first Kerala-based TV channel to introduce English news bulletins. Moreover, the channel broke new ground by featuring transgender individuals as news anchors, showcasing a commitment to inclusivity and diversity. His involvement with Jeevan TV also extends to documentary production, where he has made his mark. This experience and association with Jeevan TV have played a key role in shaping his interest and venture into the world of films. In addition to his contributions to the media landscape, Baby Mathew serves as the current President of the Kerala Television Federation. This leadership role reflects his dedication to furthering the interests of the television industry in the region.
Baby Mathew’s venture into filmmaking, also ignited by his environmental advocacy, has borne fruit in critically acclaimed films such as the National Award-winning Black Forest and Priyamanasam, showcased at prestigious festivals like the Goa Film Festival. Notably, his Veyilmarangal received accolades at the Shanghai Film Festival in China, spotlighting his diverse talents and commitment to social relevance through art. So far, about 13 productions have been made with films and documentaries. It also includes Indo-Russian, Indo-Australian films and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Pinneyum.
Looking at the Horizon
Looking ahead, Baby Mathew envisions the establishment of an Ayurvedic Medical College and expanding the ambit of the export of Ayurveda-based medicines, cosmetics and food supplements. The units that manufacture these are now in place. His aspirations extend to founding more Ayurveda Hospitals in Kerala and other states.
Also, invites are lining up for joint ventures in many foreign countries. However, legal hurdles are galore although the advent of Ayush has solved such issues to an extent. Currently, talks are underway with some countries for such joint ventures.
Mastering the Art of Equilibrium
Beyond his professional triumphs, Baby Mathew finds equilibrium in his personal life alongside his wife, Sarah Baby Mathew, an engineering graduate actively engaged in the business activities of the Group. She also oversees a Fab India franchise. Their family, including their 10-year-old daughter, Sana Maya Baby Mathew, embodies the essence of a harmonious life.
Baby Mathew’s legacy continues to serve as a guiding beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs and industry leaders. His success has blazed a path for those aiming to create a synergy between ancient wisdom and modern needs, emphasizing that a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation can redefine and elevate the tourism landscape. His relentless pursuit of holistic Ayurveda and tourism not only transformed his immediate surroundings but laid a groundwork that influenced the entire industry. By prioritizing well-being, sustainability, and the preservation of cultural heritage, Baby Mathew has contributed significantly to shaping a brighter and more balanced future for the world of Ayurveda and tourism.