Jefferies’ report highlights Ayodhya as a catalyst for boosting India’s tourism industry, transforming the ancient city from a quiet town to a global religious and spiritual tourist hotspot, akin to Mecca and Vatican. The cornerstone of this transformation is the new Ram temple, constructed at a cost of $225 million.
The economic ramifications are substantial, with tourism expected to surge alongside increased economic and religious migration to Ayodhya. Various sectors stand to benefit, including hotels, airlines, hospitality, FMCG, travel ancillaries, and cement.
Key infrastructural enhancements have been implemented to facilitate Ayodhya’s growing tourism. Phase 1 of the new airport, operational at a cost of $175 million, can currently handle 1 million passengers, with additional domestic capacity and an international terminal expected by 2025, boasting a capacity of 6 million passengers. The railway station’s capacity has doubled to accommodate 60,000 passengers per day, and a 1,200-acre greenfield township is in the planning stages, accompanied by improved road connectivity.
India’s tourism potential is substantial, contributing $194 billion to the FY19 GDP and anticipated to grow at an 8 per cent CAGR to $443 billion by FY33, despite the setbacks caused by COVID-19. Religious tourism remains a significant segment in India, attracting millions of tourists annually, even with existing infrastructural bottlenecks.
Around 50 Luxury Hotels To open in Ayodhya
As per an earlier report by ET, hotel chains like Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), Marriott International, Sarovar, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts are contemplating establishing hotels in Ayodhya. Renowned hotel chains are setting up their branches in Ayodhya, and around 50 significant hotel development initiatives are presently in progress in the city, according to official sources. As numerous smaller hotels, resorts, and homestays are also making investments in the area, Ayodhya is becoming a burgeoning focal point in the hotel industry.
UP Preparing for 20 million visitors in next six months
The UP government is actively preparing to accommodate the anticipated increase in tourists following the conclusion of the Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha ceremony on January 22, with the temple opening to the public two days later. The focus is on addressing various aspects such as lodging, logistics, traffic management, parking facilities, provision of drinking water, route diversions, and the deployment of electric buses to facilitate the movement of pilgrims within Ayodhya city, among other considerations.The Uttar Pradesh government anticipates a daily influx of no less than 100,000 pilgrims following the ceremony on January 22. Their estimates project that a minimum of 20 million individuals will visit Ayodhya in the upcoming six months to pay their respects at the recently constructed Ram temple.
The government has also planned for tent cities and dharamshalas to host pilgrims. On the similar lines, Varanasi also offers a good template for religious tourism. It saw more than 538,000 tourists last year until December 2.
UP Stands to gain Rs 4 Lakh crore by the end of the year
According to a report by SBI, the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and various tourism initiatives may contribute significantly to Uttar Pradesh’s tax revenue, potentially reaching Rs 20,000-25,000 crore. The report predicts a doubling of tourist spending in the state in the current year compared to 2022, emphasizing the completion of the Ram Mandir and the proactive measures taken by the UP government to promote tourism.
SBI anticipates that the total expenditure by tourists in Uttar Pradesh could surpass the Rs 4 lakh crore mark by the end of the year. In 2022, domestic tourists spent nearly Rs 2.2 lakh crore, while foreign visitors contributed an additional Rs 10,000 crore to the state’s economy. Ayodhya alone attracted 2.21 crore tourists in 2022.
The report suggests that the state government could design a comprehensive travel itinerary, offering tourists a glimpse of the captivating history across various significant locations within the state and neighboring states, following a hub-and-spoke model. Additionally, it proposes that India could collaborate with other countries to create an international tourist map.