Thomas Cook India & SOTC Travel reveal surge in spiritual tourism in India


The Indian travel landscape is witnessing a significant transformation, driven by a pandemic-influenced YOLO (You Only Live Once) sentiment. Today, the New Age Indian traveler seeks more than just a visit to sacred sites; they desire to immerse themselves fully into destinations, experiencing them like locals through adventure, wellness, food, culture, and history. Recognizing this shift, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, India’s leading omnichannel travel services company, along with its Group Company, SOTC Travel, has reported a remarkable 100% year-on-year surge in demand for spiritual locales that offer rich cultural experiences and adventure opportunities.

This surge is not confined to traditional pilgrimages. Instead, there’s an increasing appetite for unique local experiences, prompting Thomas Cook and SOTC to introduce an innovative product range dubbed ‘Pilgrimage Plus.’ This new offering combines spiritual breaks with local experiences such as outdoor adventure activities—mountain biking, paragliding, river rafting, kayaking, and camping—alongside unique cultural experiences like sunset boat rides in Varanasi and witnessing the Chhau dance.

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In response to this growing demand, and capitalizing on the recent inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya which alone spiked online searches by 10x, both companies have significantly expanded their spiritual tours portfolio. This expansion includes a diverse range of ready-to-book and personalized tours across India and the subcontinent, catering to a broad spectrum of travelers including seniors, multigenerational families, honeymooners, millennials, and Gen Z.

Thomas Cook and SOTC’s approach to spiritual tourism is inclusive, aiming to cater to the varied preferences of Indian travelers. Their offerings include guided VIP darshans, satvik meals, and accommodation options ranging from hotels to tents, ensuring a comfortable and enriching spiritual journey. Special offers such as Travel Now Pay Later and zero-interest EMIs are also part of their effort to make these spiritual journeys more accessible to a wider audience.

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Reflecting on the trend, Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, at Thomas Cook (India) Limited, emphasized the increased appreciation for life and spiritual journeys among Indians post-pandemic. He highlighted the company’s focus on combining popular spiritual sites with unique local experiences to tap into the high growth segment. Similarly, Mr. Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head – Holidays at SOTC Travel Limited, noted the significant month-on-month growth in spiritual tourism and the evolution of pilgrimages to include leisure elements, laying the foundation for their Pilgrimage Plus tours.

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The pandemic has reshaped the preferences of Indian travelers, fueling a significant interest in spiritual tourism that blends traditional pilgrimages with immersive cultural and adventure experiences. Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel are at the forefront of this trend, offering tailored spiritual journeys that cater to the diverse desires of today’s travelers. As the sector continues to grow, these companies are well-positioned to lead the way in offering meaningful and enriching travel experiences that go beyond the conventional.

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