35 pc growth in spiritual tourism in India, says Thomas Cook

Millenials provide highest growth opportunity

Tourism

June 2, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

35 pc growth in spiritual tourism in India, says Thomas Cook

Seeking blessings & thanksgiving are some of the reasons for rise in India's post-pandemic spiritual tourism (Photo: Aman Kanojiya)

India’s largest travel company Thomas Cook India and its subsidiary SOTC say they have witnessed strong demand for spiritual tourism in India and have launched packages to cater to this market.

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 Two years ago when Covid-19 pandemic took over the country unannounced, it brought along unprecedented hardships and challenges to the people. This led people to lean more towards spiritual solace to seek relief which in turn led to a boom in the spiritual tourism. Thomas Cook (India), one of India’s leading omnichannel travel services companies, along with its group company, SOTC Travel, report 35 pc growth in spiritual tourism.

In a press release the companies say that in a ‘focussed endeavour’ to tap into this high potential yet unorganised segment, they have expanded their portfolio to include a range of ready-to-book pilgrimages and personalised spiritual journeys. The companies say in a press statement that their packages cater to the entire spectrum of the market, with customised packages to suit each budget. They say that for a 5-day tour, the prices start at INR 20,000 and for the premium-personalised options for a 6-day tour at INR 200,000 per person.

The products as offered by Thomas Cook India and SOTC are diversified and feature – pilgrimage tours, spiritual with wellness and spiritual programmes with unique elements that also incorporate local experiences.

As per Thomas Cook’s Spiritual Tourism Segment Research and insights report, the reasons for rise in spiritual tourism post-pandemic is primarily due to various factors like gratitude, mostly for making it through the pandemic, which is 55 pc in total, ‘seeking blessings’ for bouncing back in business/ jobs and ‘thanksgiving’ for weddings/ birth of child.

India’s seniors segment that make 45 pc of top consumer segment and age group of over 45 form the core segment for pilgrimage tours. Bearing this in mind, the companies’ top pilgrimage tours extend across several regions such as the popular Char Dham Yatra and Do Dham Yatra providing the option to charter a helicopter, Muktinath in Nepal, Amarnath Yatra, Vaishno Devi shrine with Kashmir, Varanasi with Prayagraj, Ayodhya, and many more.

According to the same report, many couples and solo travellers ranging between 30 to 45 have shown to display strong preference for the companies’ customised spiritual tours which includes meditation, yoga and wellness programmes like the yoga centre or ashram in Coimbatore, Dharamshala, Rishikesh and Panchakarma programme at Kumarakom.

According to the report, India’s millennials/young professionals, that make 16 pc of the top consumer segments and families (35 pc), have presented the highest growth opportunity. These groups have more preference for spiritual journeys that were combined with outdoor-adventure and authentic local culture & culinary experiences. Thrilling experiences like white-water rafting and night trekking in Vaishno Devi, or at Kathadi, close to Rameswaram which has an emerging hub of water sports, Badrinath’s famous Valley of Flowers trek and bungee jumping in Rishikesh, are some of the key attractions that are inspiring India’s millennials to explore the land of spiritual journeys.

Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, say that in this post-pandemic period, the country is currently witnessing a definitive surge in spiritual tourism. With the government’s strong focus on connectivity and infrastructural development, spiritual locales are attracting interest from not only seniors and families but also from millennials and group of friends. Kale adds that their portfolio has hence been diversified to offer a range of convenient pilgrimages and customised options that include wellness, and unique local experiences that ranges from culture, cuisine and outdoor adventure.

“Spiritual tourism has been growing rapidly and expected to further propel the revival and growth of tourism in India. We tested waters pre-pandemic and keeping the post-pandemic surge in demand in mind, we have designed our products to streamline the complete end-to-end experience. Spiritual tourism also provides an ideal getaway amidst tranquil nature with a combination of outdoor adventure and authentic local elements. Our ready to book and personalised spiritual holidays have been designed with care and offer a range of price points to suit every consumer segment,” said Daniel D’souza President & Country Head – Holidays, SOTC Travel.

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