Skift Take

Religious tourism is booming in India and hospitality companies are now catching up to cater to this demand.

Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) announced the signing of a fourth hotel in Varanasi, a 101-key Ginger hotel. It currently has two Taj Hotels and a SeleQtions hotel (as part of the Tree of Life conversion) in Varanasi, a city with deep cultural and religious significance.

On Thursday, IHCL also announced the signing of its reimagined Gateway brand in Sarnath further strengthening the hotel company's spiritual tourism circuit.

With these two additions, IHCL will have 24 properties in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, of which 11 are under development. 

Once popular for being home to the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh is now looking to build itself as a religious tourism hub through cities like Prayagraj, Kashi, Ayodhaya, Varanasi and Sarnath.

The Uttar Pradesh government has launched about 500 projects with an investment of more than INR 850 billion ($10.2 billion) to develop religious and spiritual tourism spots.

Impact of Religious Tourism

The tourism industry in Uttar Pradesh has been transformed after the inauguration of the Kashi-Vishw