There is no doubt that, as the UP Tourism Department reported 325,000 tourists in Ayodhya in 2021, the number surged to 23.9 million the following year and is poised to grow even further. Anticipating a significant turnout of tourists in the coming time due to the development projects inaugurated in Ayodhya, multiple brands across various sectors have announced the establishment and operation of new units in the temple city.
Amidst the city's infrastructural development, marked by the launch of the Maharishi Valmiki International Airport and the grand consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya Dham, a surge in tourist influx is anticipated in the coming times. Capitalizing on this, brands across various sectors have made several announcements.
Hospitality industry ventures into the city
Several renowned names from the hospitality industry are making their way to Ayodhya. The five-star giant Taj Hotels has announced the opening of three properties in the city. According to the announcement, plans include a 100-room upscale Vivanta and a 120-room lean luxury Ginger, both expected to be completed by 2027.
Moreover, the Radisson Hotel Group is set to open Park Inn by Radisson Ayodhya. According to the team, the hotel premises will be in proximity to the airport, Ayodhya Cantt railway station, and the Ram Mandir. Additionally, as per the announcement, realty developer Abhinandan Lodha Group and Brookfield Group, which owns Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts, have entered a partnership to introduce a luxury modern palace hotel in Ayodhya.
Another major player, ITC Hotels, has also announced properties in Ayodhya. In the affordable segment, OYO has unveiled a mass project in the city with around 50 homestays and approximately 1,000 rooms after observing a surge in the number of tourists. According to a recent report by OYO, there has been a 350% growth in searches for Ayodhya on OYO's platform. To ensure smooth operations, OYO has partnered with the Ayodhya Development Authority and the Uttar Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation.
In addition, Marriott International, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts are also set to establish a presence in the city.
FMCG and F&B industry opening units
Anticipating an 8-10-fold surge in tourism, brands in the FMCG sector and F&B industry have announced expansions in the pilgrim city of Uttar Pradesh. One of India's largest mineral water companies, Bisleri International, is looking to establish a greenfield plant in Ayodhya. In collaboration with local authorities, Bisleri plans to place approximately 200+ bins for plastic recycling across a 5-kilometer stretch around the iconic Ayodhya Ram Mandir.
Speaking on the matter, Mr. K Ganesh, the Senior General Manager of Corporate Affairs & CSR at Bisleri International Pvt Ltd, states, 'The aim of this collaboration is to create awareness around responsible plastic disposal and promote community engagement.' Additionally, he mentions that the team will also provide transport infrastructure to ensure plastic waste is sent directly for recycling.
Parle Products, known for Monaco and Fab Biscuits, has observed the tourist influx, leading them to announce more distribution centers in Ayodhya. Moreover, a new McDonald's outlet is set to open on the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway.
For the flow of commutation
Not only are brands in the F&B industry expanding their presence in the city, but popular cab aggregators like Uber have also launched electric auto-rickshaw services in Ayodhya. The company also plans to introduce UberGo and Uber Intercity services in the coming days.
GreenCell Mobility, an electric mobility player, will deploy 150 intra-city electric buses in Ayodhya. These buses are expected to play a vital role in providing intra-city transportation services, and the brand has partnered with the Uttar Pradesh Urban Transport Directorate for this initiative.
In addition, companies like ETO Motors are gearing up to offer carbon emissions-free travel options by deploying 500 electric three-wheelers in Uttar Pradesh, with a special focus on Ayodhya.
Furthermore, air travel is expected to become more accessible with companies like Indigo, Air India, and Air Asia expanding their destinations to include Ayodhya. For train commutation, IRCTC has plans to start around 1,000 Ayodhya-bound trains.
Tech brands reaching the spot
Just like other sectors and industries, tech brands are also seizing this golden opportunity. Trinity Cleantech, a subsidiary of ETO Motors, has partnered with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) to deploy EV charging stations in Ayodhya. An AI-based video analytics startup, Staqu Technologies, will provide real-time security surveillance in Ayodhya using its AI-powered Jarvis platform. The platform is expected to monitor events for potential threats and suspicious activities.
To assist tourists with navigation, the Ayodhya Development Authority has collaborated with Genesys International’s New India map platform to guide pilgrims through routes and locations. Furthermore, the mobility startup Chalo has made its app available in Ayodhya to help tourists track the live location of their buses.
In addition, the Ram Mandir Trust has partnered with a city-based startup, CHUK, that manufactures 100% compostable tableware. The Ayodhya Nagar Nigam has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Paytm to make Nagar Nigam facilities accessible to people through QR codes, soundboxes, and card machines.
Considering the expected increase in tourist inflow in the coming times, more businesses and brands are likely to establish a presence in Ayodhya.
With inputs from TOI, Mint, ET, BS, OYO, INC42 and Firstpost.