Northern India witnesses maximum demand for spiritual travel followed by South, West and East
Top 5 cities in terms of bookings include Varanasi, Tirupati, Puri, Amritsar and Haridwar
New Delhi, 21st December 2022: The travel recovery in India is driven by religious fervour, reveals the latest edition of OYO Cultural Travel 2022 Roundup Report. The report highlights that Varanasi is the top religious destination for bookers across India followed by Tirupati, Puri, Amritsar and Haridwar. Alongside these cities, Shirdi, Rishikesh, Mathura, Mahabaleshwar and Madurai are the other strong spiritual tourism destinations in India, witnessing maximum growth in bookers over the past year.
Varanasi is one of the top pilgrim cities for both Hindus and Buddhists which explains its popularity among the religious tourist destinations across India. With rising interest in community experiences across India, a lot of travellers are now looking forward to exploring rich cultural destinations, lesser-known locations, royal palaces and spiritual or wellness destinations. Post the festive holiday season this year, Global hospitality technology platform, OYO reveals interesting insights on spiritual and pilgrimage travel across India. As per OYO’s booking data insights, August, received the maximum demand for pilgrimage destinations.
As per OYO’s booking data analyzed between August to October 2022, Varanasi emerged as the top destination with the maximum number of bookings across spiritual destinations in India. Interestingly, the city observed maximum footfall on the 13th of August due to the festive holiday season in India. While Varanasi scored on the maximum bookings and high growth, the maximum increase in bookings have been observed across Shirdi, Tirupati and Puri at 483%, 233% and 117% respectively. Amritsar and Haridwar also witnessed strong growth. Alongside these cities, Mathura, Mahabaleshwar and Madurai are emerging spiritual tourism destinations in India, witnessing maximum growth over the past year.
Top 10 spiritual tourism destinations in India
Growth in 2022 VS 2021
As per data insights, one user booked the longest stay in Prayagraj for 61 days followed by Mathura, which had the second longest single stay for 54 days.
A zone-wise breakdown of spiritual tourism in India indicates North India as the most favoured spiritual destination followed by South, West and East regions. Across the North zone, Varanasi has emerged as the most popular destination, followed by Prayagraj, Amritsar, Haridwar, Katra, and Rishikesh. Whereas travellers in South India are set to explore the cultural cities of Vijayawada, Mysore, Tirupati, Madurai, and Vellore. In the West zone, Shirdi tops the chart followed by Mahabaleshwar, Nashik, Ujjain, and Pushkar. While Puri and Goa were the most travelled destination in East India.
Long gone are the days when spiritual tourism was only for select few. Earlier, travel was bound by summer holidays, winter trips, post-exam trips but now it is way more diverse. With the need for spiritual connect taking priority, millennials and GenZ are setting new trends for the industry. With every passing day, spiritual and self-care travel are catching pace, and the demand is growing. While factors like availability of hotels, good connectivity to reach destination and enough pent-up demand for travel has supported the desire for spiritual and religious travels.
In order to boost pilgrimage tourist destinations, the Indian Railways has taken an initiative to encourage religious travel around the nation by running trains such as the ‘Swadesh Darshan’, ‘Jagannath Express’ and ‘Ramayana Express’. Many states have taken policy actions to promote cultral travel. For instance, the Uttar Pradesh Government has rolled out several initiatives to build and promote the Ramayana and Buddhist tourist circuits by investing close to 10,000 crores in the tourism sector. The state governments of Uttarakhand and Kolkata respectively, have also stepped up their efforts to ensure effective arrangements such as road connectivity to religious destinations, better air connectivity and offer essential aid with bookings, etc. for pilgrims travelling to the states. Supporting India’s strides to promote culture and spiritual destinations, OYO offers features to benefit every traveller, such as ‘Pay At Hotel’, search ‘Nearby Stays’, easy cancellation policies among others.
In today’s post-pandemic India, travel is all about flexibility and spiritual travel, alongside business and leisure travel are leading India’s travel recovery. Benefitting from this positive sentiment around travel, OYO’s H1 FY23 revenues have increased year-on-year. The company’s monthly revenue per hotel (GBV) per month has also clocked in a 69% increase year-on-year.