India has been one of the richest centers of spirituality over the last four thousand years.
Tourism opportunities have developed immensely in the last couples of decades. Religious places are ranked high in preferred tourist destinations for Indians.
The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report shows that between 2007 and 2015, the share of respondents in India who perceived religion to be very important increased by 11% to 80% now and the average expenditure on religious trips has more than doubled during this period. According to National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) half of the package trips were made for religious and pilgrimage purposes and about 28 percent for leisure and holiday purposes. These are clear indicators of the expanding sector.
A survey by SOTC was conducted in the age group of 18-55 years and above. Findings from the survey:
53% are interested to opt for a pilgrimage tour if a reputed travel operator offered their services.
47% have travelled on a pilgrimage tour.
38% sought assistance to plan a pilgrimage tour.
19% sought assistance from a local travel agent.
45% take a pilgrimage tour once in a year.
15% take a pilgrimage tour once in 6 months.
51% of the respondents look at a hassle free experience as the top requirement from a pilgrimage tour.
38% want sightseeing and a guided tour as part of their pilgrimage tour.
To cater to this growing demand of spiritual tourism in the country, SOTC has introduced Darshans in association with ePuja, India’s first online portal for religious ceremonies. Darshans by SOTC is a selection of over 40 specially designed religious and spiritual experiences across 60 holy destinations in India. The tours have been designed keeping in mind the specific needs of the travellers to seamlessly aid their spiritual journey. The package includes peaceful, quick, convenient, hassle-free religious experience, pooja, special ‘havan,’ abhisheka, assisted temple visit amongst others.
Speaking about the launch, Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel said, “Spiritual Tourism is the single largest category in domestic tourism which is an untapped, fragmented industry – opportunity. Indians are seeking a pre-planned, organized, comfortable, spiritual travel experience. SOTC Darshans, offers customers this very service. Religious travellers can now explore a new way of travel that aids their spiritual journey. Pricing of our products has been worked around to suit every budget, offering travellers a seamless spiritual journey.”