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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612
Religious to Spiritual Tourism Transformation Journey of Uttarakhand – A Hill State in India
Dr. Vinay Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology,
Roorkee, India. Dr. Rajat Agrawal, Associate Professor, Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology,
Roorkee, India. Pramod Chandra, Research Scholar, Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology,
Roorkee, India. __________________________________________________________________________________
Abstract This paper highlights the transformation of Uttarakhand a tourism economy oriented state of India from being a predominantly religious tourism oriented state to become a spiritual tourism oriented state. This transformation not only highlights the practical difference between the two types of aforesaid tourisms but also is suggestive of a strategic change from Red Ocean perspective to a Blue Ocean perspective wherein Marketing elements are also found to be going through a transformative change wherein marketers are reorienting themselves in compatibility with such changes. This paper is based on primary research through indepth interviews based on reflexive research approach and the conclusions drawn potentially can become a marketing strategy for regions looking for a transformation. _____________________________________________________________________
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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612
1. Introduction
Religious tourism is the form of tourism, which is driven by given faith [1; 2], and in which people travel across the destinations for various purposes. The report of FICCI and YES BANK Ltd. (2012) entitled “Diverse Beliefs: Tourism of Faith Religious tourism gains ground” precisely define the religious tourism as“ the travel with the core motive of experiencing religious forms, or the products they induce, like art, culture, traditions and architecture [3].”
India, since ages, being a culturally diverse country has been well connected to all major beliefs and religions of the world and all the religious groups of the country has constructed various niche forms of religious tourism in India, which eventually molded various religious centers like Temples, Gurudwaras, Mosques, Churches, and other major art, traditions, culture and architecture. Places and shrines in various states of India, such as Varanasi, Mathura, and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh; Somanth in Gujarat; Dargah Khwaja Saheb in Ajmer); Rishikesh and Haridwar in Uttrakhand; Pushkar in Rajasthan; Jagannath Puri in Orissa); Golden Temple and Anandpur Sahib in Amritsar); Tirupati Balajee in Andhra Pradesh) and Bodh Gaya (Bihar) are are some of famous religious and spiritual destinations of India [4].
In India the religious form of tourism primarily includes; Pilgrimage, cultural visits, retreat, conventions and rallies etc.
2. Religious Tourism in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand the hill state of India was carved on November 09, 2009 as 28th state from erstwhile hill and foothill parts of Uttar Pradesh. Since ages this region is regarded as “Adobe of Gods” due to presence of divine places. Uttarakhand embodies some of the world famous peaks, enchanting glaciers, and alpine pastures such as the valley of flowers. Four revered pilgrimage destinations, regarded as ‘Chardham’ namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are located in highland region of Uttarakhand. In addition to these, nearly 40 other destinations in the Uttarakhand are known and regarded as preferred destination for finding peace and sensing spirituality. Tourism and pilgrimage in Uttarakhand contribute around 27 % in gross domestic production of state (GSDP). According PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PHDCCI), tourism sector in Uttarakhand alone contributed around 60 % in GDP of state as compared to entire services sector which contributes nearly 49 % in the GDP of the state. Therefore, tourism and pilgrimage in Uttarakhand generates worthy revenues and variety of employment opportunities for the native residents.
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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612

Table 1: Tourism Statistics of “Chardham”

Year

Badrinath

Kedarnath

2009

798204

403636

2010

921526

400511

2011

936172

571601

2012

941092

573040

2013

489924

323867

Total

4086918

2272655

Source: Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board

Gangotri 380157 310561 485137 372768 252783 1801406

Yamnotri 322242 309634 448945 336791 209753 1627365

The recent trends, consumer orientation, and market indicators of tourism trade of

Uttarakhand State portraying a transformational phase of the religiously oriented tourism into

spiritual tourism segment.

Undoubtably, the transformation of the tourism industry of the State is a giant lap for the

economy and tourism sector of the State, as compared to the preceding practice of the

tourism. Because (i) the diversion of the pilgrimage will not merely create additional

opportunity for the expansion of tourism industry as well (ii) this will reduce the burden of

massive visitors from ecologically fragile places where the leading pilgrimage destinations

‘Chardham’ are situated. The transformation also (iii) demonstrates the prospect of

development under operated destinations, whereby supplementary source of employment and

revenue could be explored. (iv) The foremost lead which could be seen as a result of

transformation is the birth of an attractive niche market segment of tourism sector of the

State, which is extensively available in all vicinity of the state and specifically in rural areas

where other kind of ventures could not be easily instigated for the economic wellbeing of the

of the habitats.

3. Niche Forms of Tourism in Uttarakhand

In recent years various categories and forms of tourism activity are evolved in Uttarakhand

such as;

 Pilgrim & Religious tourism, the foremost tourism activity;

 Homegrown tourism;

 Cultural tourism

 Eco-tourism;

 Recreational tourism;

 Historical tourism,

 Rural tourism;

 Medical & Health tourism,

 Spiritual tourism;

 Business tourism;

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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612
 Adventure tourism,  Sustainable tourism;  Agro-tourism;  Wedding tourism;  Volunteer tourism;  Yoga tourism;  Wildlife tourism etc. Collectively, all emerging niche areas of tourism in Uttarakhand are spiritual tourism in nature. And all the forms are shaped by the preferences and requirements of the visitors except religious tourism.

4. Spiritual Tourism

Spiritual tourism, the evolving form of tourism industry emerged from the global need of

people. Though rooted in religion, but in fact goes beyond the spirit of religion [5]. In

contemporary literature the paper of C. Melchers 2006, comprehensively defines the broader

prospect of spiritual tourism in comparison with religious tourism. According to C. Melchers

the “spiritual tourism is not just religious tourism like pilgrimage, a wide spectrum of travel

forms deserves this name. Spiritual tourist seeks something that is worth being and can give

their lives new richness or even new direction” [6]. In common this could too be observed that

the religious tourism or visitors often remain motivated by some religious beliefs and value,

whereas the spiritual tourism activity seeks spiritual experience without a reference of religion

or faith [7]. Although the spiritual tourism is a wider form of religious tourism whereby the

visitors experience more than satisfying their beliefs. Table 2, comprehensively describes the

footsteps for development of spiritual tourism (Adapted from Melchers, 2006). In the table the

step sixty is added as addition by the authors of the paper this step firmly justify the spiritual

tourism is an offshoot religious tourism.

Table 2: Footsteps for Development of Spiritual Tourism

The age old spiritual discipline originated in India. Yoga has proved a method

1

Yoga

for attaining a goal, controlling the body and the mind, and is practiced as part

of Ayurveda.

The traditional system of Indian medicine and science of life. In contemporary

2

Ayurveda research and alternative spares Ayurveda is popular for elimination of various

ailments through traditional medicinal wisdom of India.

The term meditation refers to a diverse practices of practices designed to 3 Meditation promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop attention.

Visiting sites of historical importance, places of religious connotation, and

4

Cultural reflection, meditation for the sake of soul-searching. This involves the

cultivating and practicing of religious beliefs or the performing of religious

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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612
Activities duties.

5

Religious

Visits or journey and activities motivated by religious beliefs and values are

Activities considered religious activities i.e. religious tourism.

6

Spiritual

The sum-up of all above activities termed as spiritual activities, i.e. spiritual

Activities tourism.

5. Leading Spiritual Organizations in Promotion of Spiritual Tourism in Uttarakhand
The spiritual associations and groups i.e. Yoga, Meditation, and Ayurveda Ashrams of the State, which are situated near Haridwar and Rishikesh, the prime spiritual destinations for foreign as well as domestic visitors are playing a key role in the process of transforming the religious tourism activity into spiritual tourism. These Ashrams and associations are not only simplifying the cause of the visitors, but also they are providing them a sense of life, which is the zest of spiritual tourism. The leading spiritual organizations [8] which are facilitating the visitors are;
 Parmarth Niketan  Patanjali Yogpeeth  Divya Yog Mandir Trust  Yoga Niketan  Kailashananda Mission Trust  Transcendental Meditation Centre of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi  Omkarananda Patanjali Yoga Kendra  Shivananda Ashram (Divine Life Society)  Ved Niketan  Sacha Vedic Sansthan The main activities which are usually performed in all the leading spiritual organizations are morning prayers and mediation, yoga, lecture programmes, and Ganga Aarti at sunset. Other activities are natural cure and Ayurveda treatment and training. In addition to that the spiritual organizations frequently conduct special cultural and spiritual programmes for the hundreds of visitors. Owing to the spiritual activities performed by the spiritual organizations they not only attract religious visitors, but also the non-religious visitors who have divergent desires, and preferences with respects to their own living and satisfaction. Besides the leading spiritual groups and associations nearby major spiritual destinations,
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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612
some other specific location based associations such as, Narayan Swami Ashram at Pithoragarh, Ramgarh; Mirtola Ashram, Jageshwar at Almora, Mayawati Ashram at Champawat; Mahayog Academy, and Aurobindo Ashram at Nainital; are also playing key role in attraction of visitors around the State.
Blue ocean perspective of Spiritual tourism
The Strategy Canvas Spiritual Tourism

hi

Eliminate

Reduce

Conventional Religious Tourism based

Organizations

Raise

Create

Smaller- Religious Tourism based Organizations

Spiritual Tourism based Organizations

offering level

lo Religious Occasions and

Religious

Religiosity associated withIntegrated Value Chain Holistic Marketing Orientation

Price

Seasons

perspective of

the Organizations and based on Spirituality Market Development and Co-

Specific Religious

Religious Products andReligious perAssphercatmives oinfvolved

Creation Integration of

Motive

Orientation in the Services positioning of the

Trust+Faith+Benefits Spirituality Health and

Value Chain

Destinations

Experience+Values

6. Conclusion
The aforesaid transformation of the State of Uttarakhand from Religious Tourism to Spiritual Tourism is a lesson capable of teaching a transformation of Red-Ocean based tourism marketing to Blue-Ocean based tourism marketing. This strategic perspective now includes non-users and people who have been looking for peace but with a different
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Proceedings of the International Conference on Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing (IC16Mauritius Conference) ISBN - 978-1-943579-19-8
Ebene-Mauritius, 21-23 January, 2016. Paper ID: MC612
perspective other than entertainment.
References
Cristoph Melchers, 2006, in his paper Spiritual Tourism: Motives, Formats and Marketing. Medhekar, A., & Haq, F. (2012). Development of Spiritual Tourism Circuits: The Case of India. GSTF Business Review (GBR), 2(2), 212. Phukan, H. (2015). Some Aspects of Development of Marketing Strategy for Spiritual Tourism in Uttarakhand State of India. Strategic Initiatives & Government Advisory (SIGA) Team, 2012, Diverse Beliefs: Tourism of Faith Religious tourism gains ground. http://www.ficci.com/spdocument/20207/Diverse-Beliefs-Tourism-of-Faith.pdf Sutama, I K., Sardiana, I K., and Mudana, I G., Spiritual Tourism in Bali, A Perspective of Tourism Stakeholders. Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, Department of Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand. http://uttarakhandtourism.gov.in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_tourism http://store.mintel.com/religious-and-pilgrimage-tourism-international-february-2012?cookie_test=true
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