Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Unlocking India’s Tourism Potential & Economy Multiplier

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The grand opening of the Ram temple at Ayodhya by PM Modi on January 22, 2024 is being called as watershed moment in modern Indian history. It also comes with a large economic impact as India gets a new tourist spot which could attract 50m+ tourists/year. A US$10bn makeover (new airport, revamped railway station, township, improved road connectivity etc) will likely drive a multiplier effect with new hotels & other economic activities. It can also set a template for infra driven growth for tourism. Given its importance in MBA GD, WAT and Interview process, MBAUniverse.com presents a complete review.

 

Ram Mandir in Ayodhya: Key Facts
Let’s start with a few facts.

  • No taxpayer's money is involved. It is fully financed through public donations of about 5000 crores and counting.
  • The idols are made up of 60-million-year-old Shaligram Rocks, brought from the Gandaki River (Nepal).
  • A time capsule has been placed approximately 2,000 feet below the ground, right underneath the temple. The capsule contains a copper plate inscribed with relevant information regarding the Ram Mandir, Lord Rama, and Ayodhya. The purpose of this time capsule is to ensure that the identity of the temple remains intact over time so that it doesn’t get forgotten in the future. Time capsule contents are uploaded to cyberspace and various museums.
  • Several Designers & Consultants Involved
    • Chief Architects: Chandrakant Sompura, Nikhil Sompura, and Ashish Sompura.
    • Design Advisors: IIT Guwahati, IIT Chennai, IIT Bombay, NIT Surat, Central Building Research Institute Roorkee, National Geo Research Institute Hyderabad, and the National Institute of Rock Mechanics.
    • Construction Company: Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Project.
    • Management Company: Tata Consulting Engineers Limited (TCEL)
    • Sculptors: Arun Yogiraaj (Mysore), Ganesh Bhatt, and Satyanarayan Pandey
  • Temple Area, Design & Dimensions 
    • Total Area: 70 acres (70% green area)
    • Temple Area: 2.77 acres
    • Temple Dimensions: Length: 380 ft.
    • Width: 250 ft. Height: 161 ft.
    • Architectural Style: Indian Nagar Style.
    • Architectural Highlights: 3 storeys (floors), 392 pillars, 44 doors.
    • The temple is an earthquake-resistant structure, with an estimated age of 2500 years as per NICMAR standards.

GD Topic: Ram Mandir in Ayodhya
Tourism has big potential in India: Tourism contributed $194bn to FY19 (pre-COVID) GDP and is expected to grow at an 8% cagr to US$$443bn by FY33. Tourism to GDP ratio in India at 6.8% of GDP, puts it below most of the large Emerging / Developed economies; which are higher by 3-5ppts. 

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Religious tourism is big in India: Religious tourism is still the biggest segment of tourism in India. Several popular religious centres attract annual tourist traffic of 10-30m despite the existing infrastructural bottlenecks. And hence, the creation of a new religious tourist centre (Ayodhya) with improved connectivity and infrastructure can create a meaningfully large economic impact.

 

Ayodhya – A template for India’s tourism boost: Rs850bn ($10bn) makeover is now set to transform the ancient city from a sleepy town to a global religious and spiritual tourist hotspot. The new Ram temple comes up at the cost of US$225m (Rs18bn). Tourism is projected to surge and increased economic and religious migration to Ayodhya, multiple sectors stand to benefit including hotels, airlines, hospitality, FMCG, travel ancillaries, cement etc.

 

Significant infra upgrade to facilitate Ayodhya tourism: Phase 1 of a new airport at Ayodhya has become operational at the cost of US$175m and can handle 1m passengers. Additional domestic capacity and an international terminal is expected by 2025 with a capacity to handle 6m passengers. Railway station has been upgraded to double the capacity to 60k passengers/day. A 1,200 acre greenfield township is being planned and road connectivity being beefed up as well. 

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Ram Mandir in Ayodhya: From Small town to a Religious Tourist Hub
Ayodhya, once a small town, is undergoing a transformative journey into a religious tourist hub, with the construction of the Ram Mandir as a pivotal catalyst. This transition is not only reshaping the cultural and religious landscape of the city but also sparking significant developments across various sectors. From the hospitality industry witnessing a surge in hotel construction and major brands entering into contracts, to the FMCG, QSR, and aviation sectors gearing up for increased demand, Ayodhya's evolution promises profound economic and infrastructural impacts. This paradigm shift positions Ayodhya as a prominent destination, attracting pilgrims and tourists alike, and sets the stage for a robust and diverse economic future. Here are more details.

 
Hotels / Hospitality
FMCG & QSR
Aviation / Railways & ancillaries
Current impact
  • Demand outstripping supply: At present Ayodhya has ~17 hotels with ~590 rooms
  • 73 new hotels in the pipeline, of which 40 are already under construction
  • IHCL, Marriott International, Wyndham, etc. have already signed deals for hotels
  • IHCL has signed contracts for two new properties in Ayodhya (operational in 2027)
  • ITC Hotels exploring opportunities in Ayodhya
  • OYO to add 1000 hotel rooms in Ayodhya
  • Religious & pilgrimage sites like Ayodhya, The Golden Temple, Vaishno Devi, etc. present significant captive markets offering strategic first-mover advantage
  • QSR chains such as Restaurant Brands Asia (RBA), Devyani International, Jubilant Foods are either in discussions to set up outlets or have already begun setting up outlets
  • Burger King set up one store in the city centre in 1H of 2023
  • Indigo, announced Ayodhya as its 86th domestic destination. Direct flights from Delhi, Ahmedabad & Mumbai.
  • Air India, announced direct flights from Bengaluru, Kolkata & Delhi
  • Spicejet and Akasa Air also announced flights connecting Ayodhya with multiple cities
  • IRCTC announced tour packages to Ayodhya
Future impact
Surge in tourism - Ayodhya’s enhanced status as a religious and cultural tourist destination will lead to increased footfall from pilgrims and tourists, both domestic & international
Surge in tourism & residents will lead to a substantial demand for FMCG, consumer staples and quick service, restaurants (QSR)
Surge in tourism & residents will lead to increased demand for both domestic & international connectivity and stands to benefit aviation, railways & ancillary service providers

Ram Mandir in Ayodhya: High Tourism Traffic
Here is a comparison of Ayodhya with other popular destinations.

 
Ram Mandir, Uttar Pradesh
Tirupati Temple, Andhra Pradesh
Vaishnodevi, Jammu & Kashmir
The Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh
Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
Significance
Religious, cultural and historical
Religious, cultural and historical
Religious, cultural and historical
Historical
Historical
Tourism type
Pilgrimage / spiritual
Pilgrimage / spiritual
Pilgrimage / spiritual
Heritage
Heritage
Annual est. footfall
50mn to 100mn (expected)
25mn
7mn-8mn
6.5mn
2.5mn
Annual est. income
NA
~Rs12bn / $140mn
~Rs5bn /$60mn
~Rs1bn / $12mn
~Rs275mn / $3mn

Ram Mandir in Ayodhya: India’s Response to Vatican City & Mecca
The construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya signifies India's response to religious centers like the Vatican City and Mecca. Ayodhya, with its deep-rooted religious, cultural, and historical significance, is poised to become a prominent pilgrimage destination. This development places Ayodhya in league with globally renowned pilgrimage sites like Vatican City and Mecca, making it a central hub for spiritual tourism with significant economic implications. Here are more details.

 
Ayodhya, India
Vatican City
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Significance
Religious, cultural and historical
Religious, cultural and historical
Religious, cultural and historical
Tourism type
Pilgrimage / spiritual
Pilgrimage / spiritual
Pilgrimage / spiritual
Annual est. footfall
~50mn to ~100mn
~9mn
~20mn
Annual est. revenue
NA
~$315mn1 (low on account of proximity to Rome)
~$12bn

In conclusion, the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024, stands as a monumental event in contemporary Indian history, with far-reaching implications for the nation's tourism potential and economic growth. The anticipated influx of over 50 million tourists annually is set to transform Ayodhya into a significant religious and cultural tourist destination, marking a paradigm shift from its earlier status as a small town. The extensive makeover, including the construction of a new airport, revamped railway station, township, and enhanced road connectivity, is poised to act as a multiplier effect, fostering economic activities and opportunities in various sectors such as hospitality, FMCG, QSR, aviation, railways, and ancillary services. Ayodhya's journey from a historical town to a religious tourist hub not only signifies a boost in tourism but also sets a promising template for infrastructural-driven growth, presenting a compelling narrative for future development and prosperity. 

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Given its importance, Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is an important GD Topic for MBA Admission. Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is also an important WAT and Interview Topic. Read above article by MBAUniverse.com for complete details. 

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