Travel has always fascinated humans and religion sustains humanity. Nothing gets better commercially, than a combination of these two. So it comes hardly as a surprise when World Tourism Organization (WTO) declares that faith based travel industry or religion tourism is one of the fastest growing travel segments. According to industry estimates religion tourism industry worldwide is valued at more than $ 18 billion dollars.
In India it is believed that more than 70 % of people, who travel, do so for religion. For people outside India, Buddhists and Hindus mainly arrive for pilgrimage.
Tirupati and Vaishno Devi can now be counted as richest temples not only in India but in the whole world. They are both real moneyspinners.
According to recent reports the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi generates an annual income of approximately Rs 475 crore thus sustaining the local economy. The Yatra has been able to provide livelihood to around 27000 people. Out of this 475 crores , commercial establishments account for around 60 % . This is followed by the hospitality sector and the transport sector.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), earned around 738.36 crores during the fiscal 2006-07. By selling human hair alone it expects to earn 33 crores.
Record Number of Pilgrims
According to reports in the year 2007 around 75 lakhs visited Vaishno Devi Temple. In the current year within the first six months a record number of 38.75 lakh people visited the shrine. It is believed for the year 2008 there would be around 80 lakh people who would have visited the cave shrine. This upsurge in pilgrims infuses a lot of money to the state coffers. What to do at sentosa singapore
Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam receives annually 2 crore pilgrims on an average.
Gap between Demand and Supply
However infrastructure is one sector that has not really able to keep pace with the recent boom in faith based travel industry. During the peak periods every major Pilgrim centre in India faces dearth of hotel rooms. This creates a lot of problem to both who are on shoe string budget or for more affluent devotees. There is a mad scramble for accommodation and often people have to stay in open without any option
The only solution it seems is to have more hotels in all categories. One good point is that many acclaimed names in the travel and hospitality sectors are now coming with investments at religious places. There is now a 5 star hotel in place at Katra the starting point for Vaishno Devi Yatra.
Famous names in the fast food sector have also realized that devotees are big consumers too No doubt Café Coffee Day has opened its various outlets across pilgrim centres.