Religious tourism feeds India’s hotel boom

Major hotel brands step into undersupplied segment

India’s religious tourism attracted 450 million people in 2010 – around 60% of the country’s domestic travellers for that year. But despite its enduring popularity this type of tourism is currently undersupplied in the hotel market, a fact that is luring major international brands. The supply mainly consists of mid-market hotels, but there’s demand for higher-standard properties.
Pilgrim tourists flock to prominent shrines representing a variety of faiths. Major shrines attract 50,000 to 100,000 visitors a day. Most religious travellers, a large number of whom travel with the whole family, stay for two days. Major hotel chains are opening hotels close to these sites. Carlson, for example, has more than 50 properties in the country and plans to have 100 by 2015. Best Western International is also raising its profile. 
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[photo courtesy India Tourism]