Spiritually motivated tourism is growing in the country, as more and more Indians are going to popular pilgrimages, such as Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Puri in Odisha, according to a report. Travel marketplace ixigo in its report said there has been a month-on-month growth in hotel bookings of 60 per cent for Puri, 48 per cent for Varanasi, 34 per cent for Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and 19 per cent growth for Shirdi in Maharashtra.
The report is based on actual hotel searches and bookings on ixigo this summer. “Looking at the spike in hotel bookings, we can say that spiritual travel is now being considered as one of the offbeat travel trends in India,” said Aloke Bajpai, chief executive officer and co-founder, ixigo. The report also showed that Lucknow tops the list with about 13 per cent outbound train searches to these religious cities, followed by Mumbai with 7 per cent and Hyderabad with 6 per cent.
Delhi ranked number four with 5 per cent train searches to these religious destinations, it added. Spiritual tourism is one of the biggest untapped markets for domestic travel as close to 60 per cent domestic tourism in India is religion-based, according to Bajpai.
“To support this upcoming trend, the government has allocated special budgets for creating infrastructure around religious places,” he said. In addition, new projects, circuits and train routes are being established to increase tourism at these pilgrimages, he added.