Travel for religious purpose, i.e., pilgrimage is an important aspect of lives of people around the world. India is a land of pilgrimage, which is the main motivation for majority of domastic tourists in the pilgrimage destination. Usually, such services are provided by religious organizations managing the respective religious centers.
Tirumala, located in eastern ghats in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, is a pilgrimage destination of immense religious importance to Hindus all over the world. It attracts more than 50,000 pilgrims every day and 100 thousand on peak days. Pilgrims visiting the shrine require secular services like transportation, accommodation, food, information dissemination, etc., and sacred services like darshan (seeing the God ) and tonsure (form of vow fulfillment). Tirupati Devasthanams. TTD in short, is the independent trust managing the temple and its allied activities. While TTD provides the sacred serices exclusively, the secular service are provided by private players as well.
The present study attempts to access the quality of pilgrim services provided by the TTD and the satisfaction levels of the pilgrims with the same. It involves interviewing 500 pilgrims during a three month period about their demographic and travel behavior characteristics, extent of service utilization, and satisfaction with the above mentioned services. The study also identifies the key dimensions of the services, improvement in which will have an positive impact on overall pilgrim satisfaction. The study also analyes the past trends of pilgrim inflows availing different services and projects the demand for the same in the future.
The study contribution to the handful of research available on evaluation of service quality services. It brings to light the dimension of underlying pilgrim service quality of religious organization, and their relative importance to pilgrim’s overall satisfaction. As far as practitioners’ interest are concerned. The study help religious organization like TTD to evaluate the quality of the pilgrim service they offer to understand the current satisfaction of the recommendations of the study in actual practice at such destinations will be of much help to achieve a higher level of pilgrim satisfaction thereby, making their pilgrimage a pleasurable one.
2. Pilgrim Services of TTD
3. Demographic, Economic and Travel Behaviour Profile of Pilgrims
4. Pilgrim Utilisation of TTD Services
5. Pilgrim Perceptions of TTD Services
6. Pilgrim Satisfaction with Individual and Overall Services of TTD
7. Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix: Interview Schedule