Interpreting religious and spiritual tourism destinations/sites

Authored by: Tomasz Duda

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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The space of religious tourism, including pilgrimage, is created by delicate and extremely complicated relationships between the sacred and the profane heritage of a place. This results in the need to understand the place and experience, and how these affect the experiential recipient in very individual and unique ways. These complex relations are most fully manifested when contact occurs between the characteristics of sacred spaces and the characteristics of the visitors. What influences do such encounters have on the meanings and perceptions of a sacred site? Do the progression of globalization and the universality of narrative techniques have negative impacts on the originality and uniqueness of the genius loci? How should sacred places be interpreted to preserve their identity and spiritual significance, while allowing them to engage the recipient in learning about the site’s other values? Contemporary interpretation is an extremely important element of the dialogue between visitors and attractions. It must therefore reconcile the growing consumption of heritage and the demand for alternative forms of tourism in a balanced way while maintaining the elemental nature of the sacred site and its spiritual significance.

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