With the cricket global cup scheduled in June in England, one might assume hotelier Ankur Bhatia to be busy selling his Roseate properties in London. But his cognizance right now is the luxurious chain’s contemporary home imparting — The Roseate Ganges — a luxurious retreat at the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. He is devoting unique attention to the new belongings because its March release changed into accompanied via the opening of two different competing residences in Rishikesh—the Taj Rishikesh Resort and Spa and the Modi Yoga Retreat using BK Modi’s Spice Group.
Luxury accommodations cropping up in pilgrimage cities—once related to austerity and material and physical hardships—are not constrained to Rishikesh. As well-heeled travelers are searching for safety and comfort on their religious sojourns, luxurious chains had been quick to spot the call for. Between 2019 and 2021, ITC Hotels plans on starting its WelcomHotel-branded homes in Amritsar and Katra, and Fortune-branded motels in Ajmer and Shirdi, and a WelcomHeritage Hotel in Prayagraj. Apart from current properties in spiritual cities, Radisson Hotel Group’s pipeline includes lodges in Amritsar, Katra, and Nathdwara, with plans to amplify in cities that include Madurai and Rameswaram next 5 years in line with their increased strategy for spiritual locations.
Sarovar Hotels, which already has a presence in Badrinath, Haridwar, Vrindavan, and Tirupati, plans to open Portico-branded houses in Katra and Bodh Gaya in Ajmer subsequent 12 months. In addition, Indian Hotels Company (Taj Group), which has properties across its Taj, Vivanta, Gateway, and Ginger manufacturers in pilgrimage cities which includes Varanasi, Amritsar, Madurai, Nashik, Ajmer, and Katra, is beginning new assets in Tirupati this financial 12 months and has additionally signed assets in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Lemon Tree Hotels, a mid-priced segment player, has a property starting in Rishikesh quickly and could start residences in Neelkanth and Tapovan in Uttarakhand and Dwarka in Gujarat in 2020. With domestic religious tourism seeing a pointy uptick, towns such as Shirdi, Tirupati, Varanasi, Mathura, Katra, Gaya, Amritsar, and Ajmer are within the crosshairs of hotel corporations that are vying for the best viable places and nearby alliances.
High Spirits The upward push within the numbers of non-secular travelers has been a feature of growing affluence and huge recent strides in the street, rail, and air connectivity.
Fast trains consisting of Rajdhani and Shatabdi had been introduced to these locations; many new airports had been opened, and comfort bus offerings on those routes have also become aplenty. Central and country governments have additionally progressed the infrastructure in and around spiritual websites. However, with spiritual journeys being a vital part of the Indian circle of relatives calendar, top-rate hospitality was constantly going to be simply one step behind once the connectivity and infrastructure improved.
Rajeev Kale, president and country head at Thomas Cook India, says that for India’s new age travelers, non secular tourism not inspires photos of hassle and penance. “Our customer facts reiterate strong and developing interest in luxurious nonsecular tourism—an boom of 15-20% year on yr. Well-heeled HNI-UHNI pilgrims are opting for nonsecular locales with stays in luxurious tents, deluxe spa motels, private helicopter tours, and exclusive darshans and aartis, indulgent rejuvenation through Ayurveda, spa and yoga applications, the best dining, and uber-luxe experiences,” he says.
Dipak Haksar, chief executive, ITC Hotels and Welcomhotels, elaborates that religious websites are viral in India and have created hubs of call for luxurious chains, including ITC. “With the elevated inflow of celebrities, businessmen, young experts, and global travelers to spiritual locations, the demand for branded lodges has long gone up significantly. Today’s traveler expects nice accommodation along with full services at expenses which can be excessive on cost,” he says.
Never a Lull
What hoteliers like approximately such destinations is likewise the lack of seasonality in demand. Spiritual destinations are in excessive call for nearly around the yr. “Demand is by no means a query in those towns. Political situations have minimal relating traffic at those places. There is by no means a lull,” says Ajay Bakaya, dealing with director Sarovar Hotels and Resorts. With land available at reasonably decreased prices compared to essential towns or traveler destinations and constant footfall, Bakaya famous all the hotels had to do become offer a respectable stay option and recognition considerably on making it less difficult for traffic to technique locations of worship by liaising with locals and government.
It became one such circle of relatives darshan that pressured Ankur Bhatia to speedy-song The Roseate Ganges belongings. On certainly one of his many nonsecular visits to Rishikesh and Shirdi, he changed into the company in his solve that those destinations needed luxurious live alternatives as properly. “Rishikesh is a big travel vacation spot. It attracts Indian and global celebrities and comfort travelers nicely. Our concept was to permit people to do yoga by the Ganges, attend Ganga Aarti with an expert, have a neighborhood curate the whole darshan for visitors, after which unwind over incredible meals and spa offerings at a ‘5-megastar’ ashram,” he elaborates. And even before it opened, his inn was pre-booked until June.
Airbnb records for 2018 indicate religious locations are seeing an outstanding boom with almost 150% boom in guest arrivals in Tirupati, ninety% in Amritsar, and 79% in Haridwar over the ultimate yr. Amanpreet Bajaj, country supervisor, Airbnb, notices an accelerated draw towards experiences on Airbnb in places like Varanasi, where the host takes you through the lanes, bazaars, and ghats or excursions in Chennai showcasing the stunning architecture of southern temples.