UP tourism hubs net Rs 50,000 crore investmentLord Ram idol in Ayodhya

Virendra Singh Rawat

Even as the consecration of Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22 garnered overwhelming public participation across the country, the Uttar Pradesh government estimates the temple town to generate Rs 55,000 crore annually in tourism revenue.

In the near future, Ayodhya is expected to witness a tourist footfall of almost 30 million annually.

On an average, a visiting tourist would spend anywhere from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 during the Ayodhya sojourn, which would generate a tourism revenue of at least Rs 55,000 crore, UP tourism and culture minister Jaiveer Singh said in Lucknow recently.

The commissioning of an international airport in Ayodhya last month and a bevy of top notch hospitality chains eager to invest will act as a catalyst to the speedy growth of the tourism domain.

In fact, the state is pitching Ayodhya as a potential ‘religious tourism capital’ of the world.

After the construction of a grandiose Lord Ram temple started in August 2020, Ayodhya has been registering a daily count of around 100,000 visitors.

Singh noted the tourism sector has the potential to create the maximum number of jobs with minimum capital and investment. “Going forward, the tourism sector will emerge as one of the topmost revenue generators, and contribute to UP’s $trillion economy target.”

Apart from Ayodhya, the state is counting on major spiritual, religious and cultural tourism attractions including Varanasi, Mathura-Vrindavan, Agra, Bundelkhand etc to spur tourist inflow.

In 2022, the number of tourists visiting UP was almost 320 million, which was a massive jump of nearly 190 percent over 2021.

Meanwhile, the air passenger traffic in UP has jumped by 60 percent in 5-6 years. UP air passenger traffic increased from 6 million in 2016-17 to 9.6 million in 2022-23.

According to union aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, there were 700 aircraft movements per week in UP in 2014, but the number has now gone up to 1,654 aircraft per week.

Moreover, UP is promoting ‘Fort Tourism’ in the arid Bundelkhand region, which has a string of medieval forts, for boutique events like ‘destination wedding’ wherein Rajasthan has captured the market.

The state tourism department has listed 34 forts in the seven districts of Bundelkhand viz. Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Chitrakoot, and Banda.

The government is offering them to private hospitality players after bidding under public private partnership (PPP). The private companies will invest in these forts and operate them as heritage tourism properties for a concession period of 90 years.

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