Jaipur: The government should take steps like special marketing strategy, developing tourism circuits and scrutinising religious trusts to boost religious tourism in the country, a report has said.
Laying out a roadmap for the development of religious tourism in the country, a FICCI-YES Bank report said that there is a need to develop integrated infrastructure for religious tourism development and improving connectivity to specific religious tourism circuits.
"The huge potential for religious tourism in India can be realised if problems associated with the carrying capacity on the region, waste management, air pollution, monetisation of religion and lack of scrutiny of religious trusts are dealt with in earnest," it said.
As India has abundance of religious centres across the country, there is need to create nodes near religious centers, where there is already a basic infrastructure present and plan day trips from there.
"For example, Chennai in South India can be a node for excursions to Madurai, Thanjavur and Trichnapalli," it said.
It said that a special marketing strategy should be worked out for religious tourism destinations and provide special training to people involve in the sector.
"Infrastructure development requires that religious tourism circuits be identified and state government is required to streamline the development of the entire religious tourism circuit existing in a given region/area," it said.
The report said that as religious tourism is endemic to a given geography, the local population who are earning their livelihood from such type of tourism should be trained in a better way.
Further, "there needs to be a practice for reviewing the financial status and regulation of religious trusts as it will allay global concerns about money laundering and terrorist financing activities".
"This is especially crucial in a scenario when some of India's religious trusts are among the richest in the world," it added.
A separate board should be set up to prepare and implement plans to provide necessary facilities to the devotees and also ensure conservation of cultural atmosphere consistent with sentiments of visiting devotees.
"The pricing of religious tourism products needs to be in tandem with the different sectors of people visiting the sites. In India, the prices paid are only for the tertiary services provided and not for the actual services of the religious flavors one intends to experience," it added.
Hence, attempts need to be taken to ensure that the pricing of the tourism product is such that it compensates for educational and cultural services provided to those interested.