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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON India Leader Addressed the Challenges and Benefits of Religious Tourism on NDTV
By ISKCON News   |  Jan 24, 2024

On New Delhi Television (NDTV), a panel of three experts, including Yudhistir Govinda Das, the National Director of Communications of ISKCON India, discussed the impacts of the Ayodhya Temple on India’s future, especially in terms of religious tourism.

Founded in 1988, NDTV is one of the most watched and respected news networks in India and a leader in online programming. NDTV noted in the segment that international brokerage firm Jefferies predicted in a recent report that the Ayodhya Temple could attract over 50 million tourists a year to India. An allocation of USD$10 billion towards the enhancement of infrastructure, including a new airport, renovation of the railway station, township development, improved road connectivity, and other projects are all poised to yield a multiplier effect. “It can also set a template for infra-driven growth for tourism,” the global brokerage firm said. For some numeric perspective on this bold prediction, India welcomed 1.4 million domestic tourists to religious sites in 2022, with 6.6 million total tourists in the same year, according to NDTV.

Worldwide, other religious traditions that attract large numbers of tourists include the Vatican, with nine million guests annually, and 20 million pilgrims who visit Mecca every year.

“Religious tourism is driven by something much deeper [than regular tourism]; it is the spiritual and emotional connection people have with the place,” said Yudisthir. Noting ISKCON Mayapur as an example, he emphasized the need for reliable infrastructure, sanitation, and appropriate accommodations. “When we have spirituality and sustainability working together, that’s when the real transformation takes place.”

You can watch the whole segment on NDTV’s YouTube channel here.