Ayodhya Is Going To Become India’s Biggest Tourist Place

India is eagerly anticipating the much-awaited Pran Pratishtha (consecration ceremony of Ram Lalla icon at Ayodhya Ram Temple) scheduled for January 22, 2024.

As preparations for the opening of Maharishi Valmiki Temple on January 22 take place, major improvements are taking place throughout the city, from opening Maharishi Valmiki Airport to renovating Railway Station.

Posters featuring the symbol for the future Ram Mandir and airport have been displayed throughout Temple Town.

Ayodhya’s Spiritual Tourism Boom

Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO Hotels (India’s leading chain), released statistics on New Year’s Eve that indicated Ayodhya as being a more popular travel destination than even well-known destinations like beaches or hills.

He noted that 80% more users were looking for accommodation in Ayodhya, which marked the largest spike on his platform. Agarwal suggested on X (formerly Twitter) that Ayodhya will become the top tourist spot in India in future.

“Ayodhya has seen a 70% surge in OYO users compared to 60% for Nainital and 50% for Goa,” according to Agarwal. Agarwal noted that holy destinations have become India’s preferred tourist destinations and that Spiritual Tourism will become one of the top growth drivers over the next five years.”

Hotel rates in Ayodhya have increased substantially, and many rooms have already been reserved. Ayodhya Tent City’s thirty luxurious, air-conditioned tents priced between Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 per night have already sold out from January 20 – 27, 2024.

Hotel brands and investors have also begun looking at Ayodhya with an eye on meeting an anticipated rise in demand, with five branded hotels currently under construction there.

Jaideep Dang is the managing director of JLL’s Hotels and Hospitality group. He recently informed TrendsMyth of planned investments of Rs 350 crore towards building Ayodhya hotels.

Hotels such as Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, and Indian Hotels Company Limited have signed agreements.

Ayodhya: A Constant Upward Trend

TrendsMyth reported that the opening of the Ram Temple will draw in at least 7,000 people per day, and the Ayodhya Development Authority expects 300,000 to 500,000 visitors daily after it opens.

According to reports, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Amityanath stated, “Once construction of Ayodhya’s Ram Temple is completed by 2024 tourism will increase significantly.”

Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department reported 23.6 million domestic tourists and 1,465 international guests visited Ayodhya District in 2022 compared to 173,000 local guests and zero international guests in 2021 – this represents an amazing annual increase of 8,342.7 per cent.

The report quotes data from the government, which shows nearly 3 million visitors visited Ayodhya on New Year’s Eve 2022; Ayodhya Police were prepared to handle an expected 5 million tourists on its opening day in 2023.

Tourism in the city has also seen an exponential surge between 2017 and 2022 compared to its performance over the previous six years.

In 2017, the district hosted over 280,000 domestic visitors and 1,215 from outside of the US who visited. In 2018, domestic visitors reached 310,000, while foreign visitor counts had grown by 1,292. By 2019, total visits had reached over 340,000 between domestic and foreign travellers.

In 2020 and 2021, this ratio will decrease to 173,000 local visitors and 174 foreign visitors, respectively, and 282,000 local visitors with zero international visitors. In 2022, the district saw a record number of tourists: 24,90 million Indians and 1,465 from abroad.

Trains From Temple Town

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched six Vande Bharat trains and two Amrit Bharat trains. Amrit Bharat trains use push-pull technologies to increase passenger comfort and speeds.

Meanwhile, Vande Bharat Express will link two important temples in Uttar Pradesh: Ram Janmabhoomi & Gorakhnath. Semi-high speed trains will shorten travel time from Lucknow to Gorakhpur by four hours; Ayodhya can be reached within two.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Vande Bharat train service on Saturday, and it will commence operation on January 4, 2024.

The six-day-a-week service runs between Ayodhya, Delhi’s Anand Vihar Station, Kanpur, Lucknow and three other stations within Uttar Pradesh – Gorakhpur-Lucknow and New Delhi-Varanasi trains will operate.

New Ayodhya Airport

Maharishi Valmiki International Airport of Ayodhya covers an area of 6,500 square metres. It can accommodate about one million passengers each year, costing more than Rs 1,450 billion to construct.

As thousands of pilgrims are expected to visit the Ram Temple each day, airlines plan on providing service from and to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

The Impact of Ram Temple in Ayodhya

Construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya has already enhanced Ayodhya’s economic situation, providing locals with more job opportunities as tourism increases.

Near the temple are numerous businesses offering tourists a selection of handicrafts. No matter the size of your business, no matter if small or large, demand for goods, transportation services, lodging accommodations and other related products and services continues to increase.

‘Spiritual Tourism Gaining Popularity’

Spiritual tourism has grown increasingly popular over time. According to OYO’s year-end data, Puri was the most visited spiritual destination, followed by Amritsar, Varanasi and Haridwar.

OYO recognizes the growing significance of religious tourism in India by actively expanding along major sacred routes like the Katra-Vaishno Devi Route and Char Dham Route.

As soon as the Ram Temple opens, Ayodhya will likely gain popularity as a spiritual destination.

“Ayodhya holds great potential for spiritual tourism, particularly with the opening of Ram Temple. By 2024, the tourism industry could experience a 10-fold surge in visitors; Ayodhya could become a spiritual hub comparable to Vatican City or Mecca.”

OYO plans to expand its presence in Ayodhya by opening 50 hotels and homes containing around 1,000 rooms before the Ram Mandir opens, providing easier access for tourists exploring this historic city.

He added that these properties will be strategically placed near landmarks for easy exploration by tourists visiting Ayodhya.

OYO Hotels aimed to expand its presence in key domestic destinations by 2024 in line with the vision of its government.

What Are The Most Popular Domestic Destinations?

OYO stated that domestic travellers are favouring leisure destinations in December’s final week. Goa, Rajasthan, and Varanasi are popular picks; more rooms were booked this year compared to last year despite an expected 10% price increase due to seasonal factors.

Thailand, Dubai and Singapore remain among the top hotel bookings internationally, while Hong Kong, Vietnam and Istanbul are becoming more and more sought-after. There is also an increase in luxury accommodations and higher-category rooms being booked.

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