Ayodhya's Tourism Potential Attracts Hoteliers In Large Numbers

The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL) and ITC Ltd. are among the key players expanding their presence in the sacred town

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As the grand inauguration of the highly anticipated Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, approaches on 22 January, leading hotel chains in India are seizing the opportunity, reveal media reports. In preparation for the expected surge in tourists and pilgrims, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. (IHCL) and ITC are among the key players expanding their presence in the sacred town.

IHCL, owner of renowned brands like Taj Hotels and Vivanta, is set to launch two properties in Ayodhya—a 100-room Vivanta hotel and a 120-room Ginger hotel. These accommodations, strategically located near the upcoming Ayodhya International Airport, aim to cater to both business and leisure travellers. According to Suma Venkatesh, Executive Vice President - Real Estate & Development at IHCL, “Considering the fact that Ayodhya, as the revered birthplace of Lord Ram, attracts a significant pilgrimage footfall year-round, the company has taken the leap early.”

ITC, a Kolkata-based conglomerate prominent in luxury and mid-segment hotels, is also exploring opportunities in Ayodhya. Anil Chadha, Divisional Chief Executive of ITC Hotels, highlights the town's potential as a cultural and spiritual tourism destination. He mentions that ITC Hotels is in talks with developers to provide branding and management solutions for their upcoming assets.

“Ayodhya is a great destination for cultural and spiritual tourism. It is encouraging to see rapid growth in overall infrastructure as a catalyst for the expected tourism surge. Any market with such large scale expected movement of travellers, would need quality accommodation across segments (luxury to economy). We have significant experience, pan India in the spiritual tourism space. Welcomhotel Bhubaneswar, Welcomhotel Amritsar, Fortune Park Haridwar, Fortune Madurai and Fortune Select Tirupati are some of our properties serving this segment of travellers”, he adds.

JLL India estimates that, besides IHCL and ITC, two or three other major hotel chains are nearing announcements for Ayodhya properties. Jaideep Dang, Head of Hotels & Hospitality, JLL India, points out that these operators, focusing on 4 & 5-star hotels, are expected to add 1,100 rooms to the city. He notes that the hotel expansions have contributed to a three-fold rise in land prices in Ayodhya.

Marriott International and Sarovar Hotels & Resorts have already signed deals, with Sarovar planning an 80-room property under the Park Inn by Radisson Hotels brand.

According to Venkatesh from IHCL, the buoyancy in India’s travel and tourism sector, marked by robust growth in occupancies and average room rates, is particularly favourable for hotels in locations with religious or spiritual significance. She says, “IHCL acknowledges the importance of spiritual tourism, with existing hotels in significant destinations such as Varanasi, Amritsar, Nashik, Ajmer, Katra, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Tirupati. Recent expansions include a hotel in Vrindavan, integral to the Krishna pilgrimage circuit, and one in Makkah, near the Great Mosque.”



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