scorecardGen Zs & Millennials aid spiritual & wellness-driven tourism recovery in India
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Gen Zs & Millennials aid spiritual & wellness-driven tourism recovery in India

Gen Zs & Millennials aid spiritual & wellness-driven tourism recovery in India
Business3 min read
  • A survey by travel agency Agoda found wellness to be one of the top three motivations for Indians to travel in 2023.
  • OYO and EaseMyTrip shared that Gen Zs and millennials are pursuing spiritual pursuits, including trips to religious destinations.
  • Varanasi, Tirupati and Puri were some of the favoured destinations as per data shared by four different travel organisations.
The pandemic turned the world digital but also led to multifold physical and mental health issues. Consequently, digital detox and regeneration have become increasingly popular. In India, this has translated into an increased interest in spiritual and wellness tourism, including trips to religious destinations, according to travel agencies. And this interest has expanded to include GenZs and millennials.

Travel agency Agoda conducted a survey and found wellness to be one of the top three motivations for Indians to travel in 2023. The survey was conducted with 10,000 travellers from across 12 countries, including India.

As per Agoda, “Many (people) wish to embark on trips to recharge themselves, mentally and physically, with wellness contributing to the number two spot in the ‘reasons to travel’ ranking of Agoda’s Travel Trend survey. Countries with high inclination include India (20%), South Korea (24%), Singapore (25%) and Thailand (29%).”

Spiritual tourism no longer restricted to senior citizens

For the longest time, religious destinations were considered to be low on the travel bucket list — especially for GenZs and millennials, but that appears to have changed.

“With the need for spiritual connect taking priority, millennials and GenZs are setting new trends for the industry. With every passing day, spiritual and self-care travel are catching pace, and the demand is growing,” said OYO in its Cultural Travel 2022 Roundup Report.

As per the travel agency EaseMyTrip, there has been a 60% increase from 2019 in people in general are opting for holy destinations or spiritual or wellness tour packages. And, women aged between 30-35 are leading the search.

“We’ve observed a sharp surge of 60% in the number of tourists opting for spiritual and wellness retreat packages as compared with pre-Covid. These are closely linked with religious pilgrimages and the various festivals prevalent across the subcontinent,” said Rikant Pittie, co-founder, EaseMyTrip.

“More than ever, travellers are looking within, and often they are seen clubbing this journey within - with a trip to wellness or a spiritual retreat. Tending towards slow and spiritual travel formats, travellers opt for wellness or therapeutic retreats that allow them to disconnect and rejuvenate from their busy schedules,” said a spokesperson for MakeMyTrip.

Top favourite destinations

In light of the rising interest in spiritual destinations, certain places are definitely enjoying more interest than others. Varanasi, Tirupati and Puri were among the top destinations as per data shared by four travel organisations — Ixigo, EaseMyTrip, OYO and Kayak.

“Cultural destinations like Varanasi saw more than 50% rise in bookings for travel last year on our train apps. Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh witnessed one of the highest comebacks and was the most-searched spiritual hub in 2022 recording a 200% increase in train search queries,” shared Rajnish Kumar, co-founder, Ixigo.

The increased interest in these destinations is also boosted by pent-up demand for travel and the availability of better facilities like hotels and good connectivity to reach the destination, said OYO in a report that was released in December 2022.

Rishikesh, famous among Indians and foreigners alike, is known for its ashrams and adventure sports like river rafting. At the same, it’s home to India’s premium hotels, like Ananda wellness resort and Taj Rishikesh.

Similarly, popular religious destinations like Tirupati and Puri offer luxury accommodations — Marasa Sarovar in Tirupati or the Mayfair Heritage in Puri.

Ixigo and OYO also listed Mathura, Mahabaleshwar and Madurai as emerging spiritual tourism destinations in India.

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