Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 16:36 IST
Ayodhya emerges as India's premier tourist destination with Ram Temple inauguration
Jefferies estimates that Ayodhya's $10 billion makeover will have a multiplier effect on the economy, generating new hotels and diverse economic activities.
Ayodhya tourism boost: The grand opening of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is poised to transform the town into India's leading tourist hotspot, attracting over 50 million visitors annually, surpassing the footfalls at religious tourism magnets such as the Golden Temple and Tirupati Temple. The massive investment in infrastructure, including a new airport, revamped railway station, township development, and enhanced road connectivity, positions Ayodhya as a significant player in the country's tourism circuit.
A report by brokerage firm Jefferies estimates that Ayodhya's $10 billion makeover will have a multiplier effect on the economy, generating new hotels and diverse economic activities. The town is expected to draw more than 50 million tourists yearly, outshining popular religious destinations like the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Tirupati Temple.
Despite the existing infrastructural bottlenecks, religious tourism remains the most substantial segment in India, attracting annual traffic of 10-30 million visitors to various centers. Jefferies notes, "the creation of a new religious tourist center (Ayodhya) with improved connectivity and infrastructure can create a meaningfully large economic impact." Tourism contributed $194 billion to FY19 GDP, and it is projected to grow at an 8 per cent CAGR to $443 billion by FY33.
Ayodhya, with its $10 billion transformation, is set to become a global religious and spiritual tourist hotspot, potentially serving as a template for India's broader tourism boost. The comprehensive makeover includes a newly operational airport with plans for additional domestic and international terminals, an upgraded railway station, a greenfield township, and enhanced road connectivity.
The hospitality sector is gearing up for the influx of tourists, with 73 new hotels in the pipeline, 40 already under construction. Renowned chains like Indian Hotels, Marriott, and Wyndham have signed deals for hotels, while ITC explores opportunities in Ayodhya. Oyo plans to add 1,000 hotel rooms in the town.
Jefferies emphasises that India's geographical diversity, cultural richness, and numerous heritage sites make it an attractive global tourist destination. The upcoming Ram temple in Ayodhya is expected to unlock India's tourism potential further, given the country's favorable rankings, including being the 7th most beautiful country by Forbes in 2022, home to 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and its 10th position in the Medical Tourism Index. The grandeur of the temple is likely to amplify Ayodhya's allure, marking a significant milestone in India's tourism landscape.
(With PTI inputs.)
Published January 22nd, 2024 at 18:05 IST