A growing number of Indians visiting pilgrimage places are not necessarily going there to seek only religious or spiritual fulfilment, but also look for other experiences and adventures, a survey has revealed.
“Most travellers are seeking a holistic experience when they travel to destinations traditionally known for their religious symbolism. They now look for more experiences to club with their pilgrimage to optimise their travel,” according to ‘Connected Pilgrims Survey’ conducted by OYO.
The survey was conducted across 11 cities – Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Patna, Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata – through detailed in-person interactions with 1,700 respondents.
“Travel to religious destinations is among the largest segment of domestic travel business. In the last few years, these destinations have seen a resurgence, particularly as young people visit them for the range of experiences they offer like arts and craft in Pushkar, rafting adventures in Rishikesh, culinary delights of Amritsar,” OYO Founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal said.
He said the opportunities at these destinations -both for travellers and service providers – are fragmented, primarily due to infrastructure issues and lack of standardised option.
“We have found that Indian travellers are looking for a holistic experience when they travel, even to religious destinations. These pragmatic pilgrims often travel as family -group spanning different age-groups, and therefore, look for a variety of experiences.
“Those travelling with friends of the same age-group also often look for interest-based activities to make the holiday memorable,” he added.
The survey has revealed that about 65 per cent respondents visit a site of pilgrimage for reasons other than religion or spirituality, while 55 per cent travelled to a pilgrimage destination impulsively.
Wi-Fi connectivity at accommodation, even at a religious destination, rated as very important by 35 per cent respondents, it said.
Further, it said nearly 60 per cent update their social media profiles at least once a day.
About 25 per cent pilgrims look forward to shopping an equal number seek club or leisure activities in such trips, it added.
It also found that short weekend breaks appear to be the growing norm for pilgrimage travel. “Over 50 per cent stated that their pilgrimage duration would be between 1-2 days,” it added.