Coexistence between tourists and monks

Managing temple-stay tourism at Koyasan, Japan

Authored by: Kaori Yanata , Richard Sharpley

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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Long acknowledged to be one of the earliest manifestations of tourism (Kaelber, 2006; Raj & Griffin, 2015), travel for religious purposes has evolved into a major sector of the contemporary global tourism market (McKelvie, 2005). To some extent, this reflects the remarkable growth in tourism – both domestic and international – in general; as ever-increasing numbers of people enjoy the means and ability to travel, it is perhaps inevitable that participation in religious tourism, in particular, is also growing. At the same time, however, both the scope and meaning of religious tourism have expanded significantly in recent decades. Not only is the variety of religious sites and events that are developed and promoted for touristic purposes becoming increasingly diverse but also, reflecting the broadening and blurring of the concepts of religion and spirituality, the very concept of religious tourism is becoming more widely interpreted (Olsen & Timothy, 2006; Sharpley, 2009). Both religion and religious tourism are being rebranded (Carrette & King, 2005) whilst supporting Suntikul and Butler’s (2018: 1) argument that ‘the common ground between tourism and religion has moved beyond what has been termed “religious tourism”’, new touristic experiences, such as ‘new age’ (Attix, 2002), holistic (Smith & Kelly, 2006) or wellness tourism (Voigt & Pforr, 2013), have in recent years become increasingly popular and have spiritual connotations.

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