Religious and spiritual tourism

Sustainable development perspectives

Authored by: Anna Trono

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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Travel undertaken for religious purposes is currently enjoying a resurgence, although the purely religious aspect is less important than it was in the past, partly because modern societies are less dominated by organised religion. In numerical terms, however, it is substantial, as evident in the millions of tourists and pilgrims who annually visit famous places and events of worship such as Kumbh Mela, Mecca, the Holy Land, Lourdes, Fatima and Rome. In addition to individual places of faith, religious routes and trails draw a huge number of people who retread historic pilgrimage trails with extraordinary symbolic and spiritual values. In many cases, these are promoted and organised by associations and public or private bodies that invest in religious and spiritual tourism. Prime examples here are the cultural routes of the Council of Europe, which since 1987 has recognised the importance of the various religious ‘ways’ as key cultural and spiritual vehicles. Santiago de Compostela has seen an increase in popularity that has made the Galician city the biggest religious tourism destination in Europe (Pérez Guilarte & Lois González 2018).

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