Pilgrimages, journeys, and outings

The historical mobilities of religious praxis

Authored by: Tony Seaton

The Routledge Handbook of Religious and Spiritual Tourism

Print publication date:  July  2021
Online publication date:  July  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367191955
eBook ISBN: 9780429201011
Adobe ISBN:


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What is “Religious Tourism”? To some it may seem like a strange oxymoron—a conflation of the sacred and the profane that incongruously links spiritual travel to a more trivial, hedonistic pursuit. For historians and social scientists, religious tourism has held no such contradictions, being considered a reality of modern, industrialised societies in which commerce now provides the facilities, including inclusive, conducted tours for those wishing to make journeys to holy places (Vukonić 1996; Olsen 2016). Indeed, both historians and social scientists view religious tourism as a sacred journey, whether undertaken in pre-industrial societies or more recently as a part of commercially organised and packaged tours. As such, religious tourism represents a type of pilgrimage—an implicit, two-way relationship between reverenced, holy figures and individuals who wish to travel to places or events associated with them to worship and pay homage or for more secular reasons such as education and leisure.

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