Religious destinations top India travel charts, bookings set to rise in coming months

Well-known hotel chain property in Katra is seeing 100% appreciation in room rates and sold out inventory, even attracting celebrities this year.

After a two-year lull, religious and spiritual destinations are topping the charts of travel platforms and hotel chains, with many hoteliers keen to expand their pipeline into these territories.

For example, Tirupati tops the trending list with a substantial margin in terms of flight searches on Booking.com’s KAYAK travel search engine for travel during Ganesh Chaturthi, with searches for the destination increasing by more 477% compared to the same period in 2019.

This was followed by Varanasi registering an increase of 411%. In terms of flight fares, Shirdi at Rs 15,551 was the most expensive destination, with Varanasi at around Rs 15,029. August 22 for travel August 27-31.

These were compared to searches in a similar time period for August 2019 for travel between August 29 and September 2, 2019.

Vikramjit Singh, President of

said the chain’s hotels in Rishikesh and Katra are doing “phenomenaly well”.

“As we grow, we also consider the religious belt because the best part of the business in these destinations is that it is not cyclical or seasonal. Besides Katra and Rishikesh, we have hotels in Dwarka, Amritsar and a property near the

Mahadev Temple in Uttarakhand. Occupancy rates in these destinations are relatively higher than in other tier two or three cities,” he added.

Nikhil Sharma, regional manager for Eurasia, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts EMEA, said the number of travelers to spiritual destinations had doubled after the pandemic.

“We have seen 20% growth in average daily rates and occupancy rates over the past few years, including 2019. We are looking to expand our properties in India with active interest in locations such as Amritsar , Tirupati and Shirdi,” he added.

Wyndham operates properties such as Ajmer Ramada, Ramada by Wyndham Varanasi Katesar, Ramada Amritsar, in addition to a recently opened hotel in Katra.

Deepak Jain, founder of MayFair Consultants, which specializes in hotels, restaurants and property consultancy, said landlord interest in such destinations is seeing greater traction after Covid-19. Mayfair Consultants advised on the signing of Marriott Executive Apartments in Amritsar and a new Vivanta hotel in Haridwar this year.

“Ajmer, Mathura, Rishikesh, Vaishnodevi and Tirupati attract attention. Occupancy has shown a significant benefit, particularly for branded hotels with the easing of Covid restrictions,” he added.

Zubin Saxena, MD and Vice President, Operations, South Asia at Radisson Hotel Group, said the chain has a presence in several religious destinations such as Gorakhpur, Amritsar, Nathdwara, and will soon open a hotel in Katra.

“We are exploring opportunities in places like Tirupati. These hotels are very popular, especially post-pandemic, and will continue to be a growth area for us in the future. »

Rikant Pittie, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said bookings for destinations such as Varanasi, Mathura, Tirupati, Madurai, Amritsar and Katra are expected to increase in the coming months.

“After the pandemic, the travel industry has seen a major increase in the number of people visiting these religious places. Places like Varanasi, Mathura, Tirupati, Madurai, Amritsar and Katra have seen a 20-30% increase bookings since the pandemic,” he added.

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