Spiritually motivated tourism has emerged as one of the most vital components of India's tourism industry. The country is experiencing a shift from visiting traditional religious pilgrimage to travelling for finding inner peace. According to a study by ixigo, leading Indian travel marketplace, more and more Indians are travelling to connect with their religious roots. With a rise in spiritual tourism, popular pilgrimages, such as Varanasi and Puri are witnessing more hotel bookings than other cities this summer.
The study by ixigo reveals that there has been a month-on-month growth of 60 per cent for Puri, 48 per cent for Varanasi, 34 per cent for Tirupati and 19 per cent growth for Shirdi in the hotel bookings. Travellers plan a short-stay of an average two days during their visit to religious destinations. Talking about accommodation options, Indians prefer to keep a low hotel stay budget. Around 82 per cent tourists prefer budget hotels in Varanasi, followed by 78 per cent, 68 per cent and 73 per cent in Shirdi, Tirupati and Puri respectively. Only 32 per cent Indians prefer 4/5 star hotel while visiting Tirupati followed by 27 per cent for Puri.
Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-founder, ixigo said, “Spiritual tourism is on the rise. Cities like Puri and Varanasi not only offer travellers a traditional experience, but also enable them to rejuvenate at Yoga retreats and Ayurveda Spas. Looking at the spike in hotel bookings via ixigo, it’s safe to say that spiritual travel is now being considered as one of the offbeat travel trends in India. It is fascinating to see that young adults are showing quite a high inclination towards exploring indigenous cultural experiences in our country.”
The study also shows that Lucknow tops the list with about 13 per cent outbound train searches to these religious cities followed by Mumbai with seven per cent and Hyderabad with six per cent. Delhi ranks at number four with five per cent train searches to these religious destinations.
Spiritual tourism is one of the biggest untapped markets for domestic travel. Close to 60 per cent of domestic tourism in India is religion-based and to support this upcoming trend, the government has allocated special budgets for creating infrastructure around religious places. In addition, new projects, circuits and train routes are being established to increase tourism at these pilgrimages.