It has been observed religion/Spiritualism is the main purpose of
travel, but untapped markets remain
As per a survey conducted by
International Finance corporation in this sector
of international tourists, and 60% of domestic, traveled to the Buddhist
Circuit for spiritual/religious reasons.
of international tourists came from countries where Buddhism is historically a
influx of tourists from non-Buddhist countries. More North Americans (51%) said
they were religious tourists than Japanese (44%) or Chinese (49%).
few domestic visitors from outside UP & Bihar.
Temples, historical relic’s main attraction while results also
indicate interest in other activities
• Most popular activities
were visiting temples/stupas, and offering prayers followed by visiting museums
and historical relics – regardless of the primary purpose of travel.
• 40% of international
tourists engaged in visiting villages and attending festivals
Patterns of Travel: Extended length of stay, good potential for
• 85% of international tourists
visit the entire Circuit Main entry points: Bodhgaya (49%) and Sarnath (32%)
• International tourists stay
between 5 to 13 days, versus 2 to 10 days for domestic tourists.
• 25% of international and
38% of domestic travelers was repeat visitors. The highest incidence of repeat
travel (30%) was from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan and Myanmar.
Package tours overwhelmingly popular for international visitors
• 69% international tourists
liked to plan their travel Sarnath & Bodhgaya exhibit a different trend,
where 54% and 42% respectively had no prior booking
• 31% of international
tourists travel without prior booking.
• Among package tourists,
Japanese tend to stay longer; among independent tourists, Burmese and Thais do.
• The Internet (32%) is the
main source of awareness for international tourists. Other important sources
are travel literature (31%) and word of mouth (28%)
• Word of mouth is the main
source of awareness for domestic tourists (56%), followed by travel literature
(25%) and newspapers (21%).
Sub-circuit within the Buddhist Circuit: Sarnath Kushinagar
• Majority of foreign
tourists in Sarnath come from Western countries as compared to other sites, where
most of the tourists come from Buddhist countries.
in Sarnath leisure and entertainment as primary motivation for their visit.
• Most tourists traveled
independently to Sarnath while Kushinagar is mostly visited on packaged tours.
travel is lowest in Sarnath and highest in Kushinagar among all the sites.
• Visitors to Kushinagar also
visited Sarnath. A visit to Sarnath does not necessarily indicate a trip to
Sub-circuit within the Buddhist Circuit: Bodhgaya – Nalanda – Rajgir
• Budhgaya receives only a
small percentage of package tourists as compared to Rajgir and Nalanda. Rajgir
only site which heavily on tour operators for awareness.
• Rajgir & Nalanda falls
under middle of the trip category whereby 56% of domestic tourists and 70% of
foreign tourists visit the sites in the middle of their trip. 58% of all
tourists visit only Bodhgaya.
• Most of the domestic in
Rajgir and Nalanda come from nearby cities
Service Quality Issues among Tourists
Most Satisfactory Parameters Unsatisfactory
• Friendliness of the people
Availability of medical facilities
• Personal safety Sanitation
• Access to temples Facilities for children
• Accessibility of historical
heritage sites Quality
of roads Convenience and access to local
Apart from this, International Tourists were found to be less
satisfied/ dissatisfied with additional parameters
Less Satisfactory Parameters Unsatisfactory Parameters
• Interpretation/Signage at Temples Availability and quality of local transport
• Interpretation of historical
heritage sites Visitors
• Availability of national cuisine Shopping opportunities
Some hypotheses for discussion – need for further testing
Unique Selling Proposition of the Buddhist Circuit is unquestionably spiritual;
potential to focus on activities that enhance the spiritual/religious
from the pull of Bodh Gaya, there may be considerable potential for Sarnath
as a gateway to the Buddhist Circuit, especially for non-Buddhist visitors.
• Travelers cite frustrations
with the practicalities of road and rail travel
• East and Southeast Asia are
the main international markets, but there are other niche markets (e.g.
North Americans/Europeans on a spiritual journey)
• The Buddhist
Circuit holds significant potential for visits of the long duration and