Religious holidays gather steam

Of the many trends that have revitalized the industry over the years, religious travel was never top-of-mind. According to a recent travelmole report, “spiritual sojourns” are growing in numbers – 15.7 million Americans are likely to embark on a religious vacation in the future. The Globus study reports that religious travelers have a preference for group travel, are usually highly educated, majority married and comfortably off ($75k or more household income). In other words, religious travel has arrived as a serious travel segment.

Do people really need an excuse to travel or take a vacation? It’s no wonder that religious vacations are on the rise in a country preoccupied with material success and life in the fast lane. As vacations time get shorter and the rat race gets hyper competitive, people will pursue packages where they can combine fun with work whether “work” is business or a spiritual journey. People are also likely to feel less guilty if they took off on a “pilgrimage” vs a “pleasure trip” or “vacation time”. Other packages likely to follow suit – educational vacations or “training tours”. The vacation package of the future will combine work (connectivity, business services) + activities (religious, cooking-related, sports-driven, adventurist, local immersion) + rejuvenation (spas, yoga, fitness, medical hotels). Travel will truly become a way of life!

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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