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Abstract

This study explores the role of religious tourism in revitalising the Indian tourism sector post-COVID-19, with a focus on domestic tourism. This study is guided by the interpretive paradigm and operationalised through Faulker’s (2001) model of crisis management. Expert opinions and secondary data sources (newspaper articles, magazines and media reports) were used as the data sources; these were collected through purposive sampling techniques to obtain information-rich and context-specific samples. The results reveal that religious sites could play a substantial role in reviving the Indian tourism sector by promoting staycations and micro-holidays, and by reforming existing projects such as the Swadesh Darshan and the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD). The findings of this study suggest that collaboration with other prominent tourist attractions like Yoga, Wellness and Ayurveda, which have deep-seated relationships with Hinduism, could be a vital tool to activate the sector; these results are promising even at this stage of crisis for India. This study also identifies the major practical impediments such a plan would need to overcome, including physical distancing, crowding, festivals and ritual performance. Furthermore, this study offers practical insights into the potential pioneering roles of India’s key religious sites, such as Venkateshwara Temple, Vaishno Devi Temple, Golden Temple, Ajmer Dargah Sharif, and Velankanni Church, to create initiatives to rebuild the religious tourism sector.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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