India’s established domestic tourism destinations are already seeing record numbers of visitors, but some new tourism hotspots are also being created along the way.
Ayodhya is emerging as a top tourism destination, Oyo Rooms CEO Ritesh Agarwal has said. “Holy destinations are now India’s favourite destinations!” he posted on X. “Ayodhya saw a 70% jump in OYO app users vs Goa (50%) and Nainital (60%). Spiritual tourism will be one of the biggest growth drivers of the tourism industry in the next 5 years,” he added.
Agarwal had earlier posted that Oyo Rooms was seeing more interest in Ayodhya than for conventional holiday destinations. “Na hills, na beaches! 80% more users are searching for stays in Ayodhya today! Seeing one of the highest spikes,” he added.
Ayodhya, of course, is gearing up for the consecration of the Ram Mandir on 22nd January this year. The consecration marks the end of a 500-year-long battle for the site, which has now seen the restoration of a grand temple at Lord Ram’s birthplace. The event will draw visitors from all over the country, including PM Narendra Modi and other top dignitaries.
And Ayodhya is gearing up to receive tourists who will throng from all over India to visit the newly-constructed temple. Ayodhya has built a brand-new airport, and its first flight landed just a week ago. The city’s station is also being revamped, and has been renamed to Ayodhya Dham. In addition, hundreds of new hotels and restaurants have come up in the city in preparation for the tourist inflow.
Over the last few years, India has worked on developing several such religious tourism spots. The Kashi Vishwanath corridor was completed last year, which saw record numbers of tourists visit Varanasi — while the city had only one 5-star hotel until a few years ago, it now boasts of 1,200 small and big hotels. The Char Dham highway has been built, which connects the religious sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, and it has enabled thousands of tourists to visit what were once far-flung and inaccessible areas. Other sites, including the Somnath temple and several temples in Kashmir, have also been redeveloped.
All this has meant a surge in economic activity in these spots. There are some obvious beneficiaries to the growth of these tourist areas, including hotel booking platforms and travel sites, but the benefits can flow downstream and invigorate the economies in these areas. And startups and businesses will look to tap into this new trend and look to add value — both to themselves and their customers — in the coming years.