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Surge in spiritual tourism: SOTC and Thomas Cook enhance pilgrimage tours

Faith Based Tourism

Observing a significant increase in spiritual tourism, SOTC Travel and Thomas Cook India have expanded their pilgrimage offerings around Ram Navami.

MUMBAI, INDIA – SOTC Travel and Thomas Cook India have observed a significant increase in demand for spiritual tourism, coinciding with the celebrations of Ram Navami. Both companies have responded by enhancing their pilgrimage tour offerings across India and Sri Lanka, focusing on trails that follow the life of Lord Ram.

SOTC Travel Expands Its Darshans Portfolio

Daniel D’souza, President and Country Head – Holidays at SOTC Travel, highlighted the cultural and spiritual significance of the Ramayana in India. To meet the fivefold increase in demand, SOTC has expanded its Darshans portfolio to include Ramayana Trails, allowing devotees to explore the epic’s various chapters through sacred sites across India and Sri Lanka.

“Indians are increasingly drawn to spiritual journeys, and the Ramayana holds profound significance our religion and culture. Ram Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Ram and is an auspicious occasion for devotees and our data indicates a robust uptick in demand of 5x YoY for pilgrimage tours to Ayodhya and locales association with the life and times of Lord Ram.

“To cater to the increased demand, our Darshans portfolio offers customers with Ramayana Trails to trace the footsteps of Lord Ram through the various kands or chapters of his life and travels across India’s most sacred sites including Baal Kand and Ayodhya Kand across Ayodhya Chitrakoot Prayagraj; Kishkinda Kand in Hampi, Sundarkand and Yuddha Kand in Rameshwaram; and Shri Ramayan Anant Yatra in Sri Lanka.

“What is noteworthy, is that in our 75 years as a Company, we have witnessed Regional India’s tier 2 and 3 cities emerge strongly and these high growth markets are driving demand for our Ramayana Trails portfolio.”, said Daniel D’souza.

Thomas Cook India Introduces Specialized Ram Navami Tours

Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa at Thomas Cook (India) Limited, reported a 400% surge in bookings for Ram Navami tours compared to last year. The company has introduced several new offerings, including a Ram Navami Special departure to Ayodhya and comprehensive Ramayan Yatra packages that cover significant locations from the epic.

Spiritual tourism is gaining strong momentum with our demand reflecting over 400% surge Vs last year for Ram Navami celebrations. Basis consumer demand, we had introduced meaningful tours including a Ram Navami Special departure to Ayodhya, also Anant Kashi Ayodhya Yatra, Guided Private Ramayan Trails (Private Chauffeur Driven – Guided Darshan), Ramayan Yatra (Baal Kand, Ayodhya Kand), Ramayan Yatra Hampi  (Kishkinda Kand), Ramayan Yatra Rameshwaram (Sundarkand, Yuddha Kand) and Sri Lanka Shri Ramayan Anant Yatra. Our programs cover the birth place of Lord Ram; places stayed at during his exile in and around Prayagraj and Chitrakoot; Bhardwaj Ashram; Mata Anusuya Hermitage; darshans at holy sites/key temples; also guided Teerth Darshan at Varanasi, Prayagraj, Ayodhya, boating on River Ganges (by HAND Boat).

To ensure a deeper appreciation, we have included a guide cum story teller; also vegetarian food and satvik bhojan on request.

With the government’s significant emphasis on Pilgrimage Tourism by accelerating connectivity and infrastructure development, we anticipate a sustained growth trend.

“While historically India’s seniors/ Gen S comprised a key segment for pilgrimages, we are witnessing growing interest from the younger traveller segment comprising of working professionals, millennials and GenZ. To cater to this demand, we had launched our Pilgrimage Plus tours – where coupled with darshans, we have incorporated unique local experiences, such as cuisine trails and outdoor adventure such as river rafting/ bungee jumping. Our special touches of private and guided tours  ensures a seamless trip with end-to-end comfort while they focus on their spiritual experience.”, said Rajeev Kale.

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