Srinagar clocks highest growth in bookings among cultural destinations

The OYO 'India's Treasure Trove of Cultural Travel 2022' report reveals top five cultural destinations in India

India’s diversity of tourist destinations goes well beyond the beaches, hills and cities. As one of the oldest civilisations in the world with an all-embracing confluence of spirituality, heritage and traditions, India has always been a top choice for cultural travel at a global stage. As the pandemic pushed Indians to explore domestic destinations, cultural travel has witnessed its biggest boom in the past two years. Tracking consumer travel sentiment across India, global travel technology company, OYO has published 'India's Treasure Trove of Cultural Travel 2022' report. As per the report, with over 3.5 times growth over the past year, Srinagar clocked the highest growth in bookings among cultural destinations in 2022. Besides Srinagar, Pahalgam and Jammu in Jammu and Kashmir also ranked among the top five cultural destinations in India, witnessing increasing travel interest in the region. 

As per OYO’s booking data analysed between January and April 2022, Srinagar, Pahalgam, Bodhgaya, Shirdi and Jammu were India’s top five cultural destinations in order of ranking. India is known for its spirituality around the world. Within the culture-travel category, OYO’s data highlights rising consumer interest in pilgrimage and heritage destinations. Varanasi, seen by many as the spiritual hub, topped the charts as the most popular pilgrimage destination in India in 2022. This was followed by Tirupati, Puri, Amritsar and Shirdi. Besides this, OYO’s Mid-Summer Vacation Index also highlighted keen consumer interest in visiting Vaishno Devi this summer. 

Zone-wise, Varanasi was the top pilgrimage destination in the east, while Shirdi was the top one in west. Amritsar and Tirupati were the top pilgrimage destinations in the north and the south, respectively.  

As per the report, when it came to heritage sites, with 25% votes each, Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad and Taj Mahal in Agra tied for the top spot. Hampi, Khajuraho and Mahabalipuram rounded up the balance of the top five heritage sites. 

Commenting on the rise in cultural tourism, Shreerang Godbole, SVP - Product & Chief Service Officer - OYO said, “Cultural tourism has always been a huge contributor to India’s tourism economy. With an increase in domestic travel across India, people are looking forward to exploring rich cultural destinations over the past few years. We’re seeing many young people opting for hidden gems, historical destinations, holy sites and spiritual or wellness destinations. Varanasi, Shirdi, Rajasthan and Kerala have consistently shown up as top booked cities for this purpose since 2021. As India’s appetite for cultural and spiritual travel strengthens, we continually support locally run hotels and homeowners to create self-employment opportunities while boosting the local economy, like we did with our local homestays initiative in Kevadia and Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir. We are also offering consumers flexible cancellation and modification of bookings and Pay at Hotel option to enable higher influx of tourists across such prominent destinations.”

Interestingly, the survey highlights that approximately 7% travellers tend to make a pit stop at a famous local pilgrimage site. This means that pilgrimage destinations have the potential to attract other destination-bound travellers, opening up vast opportunities for small local businesses. OYO has also observed that during festivals and long weekends, there’s a clear upswing in demand for spiritual destinations. For instance, during the festive long weekend in April on account of Vishu and Baisakhi, OYO witnessed a surge in bookings for pilgrimage destinations such as Haridwar and Amritsar, among others. 


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