No doubt, tourism brings significant economic benefits for local communities and residents. It preserves and protects the natural environment and ensures compliance with customs, traditions and cultural heritage. In addition to these benefits for tourism development, the main foredeal of tourism is the national income generated. Tourism in general has become very global because religious tourism has also integrated into this sector.
Religion has been a part of us from the beginning, and people have been very interested in the beliefs, rituals and practices of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Eckankar, and several other religions throughout the world, especially in parts of Asia and Africa. Religion has sparked so many controversies throughout the world, some of which are very serious and controversial. Even so, religion has recently focused on different types of tourism.
Religious tourism is now widespread throughout the world and highly motivated for various reasons. This is one of the oldest forms of tourism, but has not been vibrant as it is now. Also referred to as spiritual or faith tourism, people attend religious holidays to prove, deepen, or think about their faith in many parts of the world.
Many religions still consider tourism important and focus on visiting important religious sites. The most common form of religious tourism is pilgrimage. An indefinite number of people travel to other religious places such as holy journeys to purify themselves.
As one of the largest branches of religious tourism, an estimated seven percent of Christians in the world—around 168 million people—are pilgrims every year. This is actually a religious tourism subcategory for Christians.
Some people ask whether tourism has anything to do with religion—and the answer is yes! Tourism and related practices interact with religious life and religious institutions in almost every corner of the world. However, the relationship between religion and tourism is more than just a place of worship accepted by tourists. Interestingly, tourists and religious practitioners usually have many different attachments and ideas about this sacred space.
There are many interesting religious organizations that have generated extraordinary income from tourism in just a year. The unique and stunning edifice alone attracts more than 730,000 people every day just to see this religious building. The above statistic is about a Spanish Church in Barcelona, and between 6:00-12:00, the whole place is packed.
On the other hand, the Catholic church building is one of the biggest tourist attractions when traveling to Strasbourg in Germany. In the same area, precisely Cologne, Germany, is another Catholic church, which was built in 1248 AD, one of the country's tourist centers. This house of worship is very stunning both inside and outside. In addition to the above, there are various religious tourism sites like that, including various sacred spaces.
These beautiful edifices have been turned into tourist resorts that are very unique from other tourist resorts. In India, for example, the sanctity of worship of Leh Ladakh, the Holy City of Varanasi and Char Dham Yatra seems to have a tourism appeal in terms of spiritual aesthetics, history, and exotic oddities of unknown worship behavior. This makes it a place of religious practice as well as tourism.
But elsewhere, Mecca is a tourist ban. Meccan Muslims protect the holiest Islamic city, although non-Muslim imaginations make this desirable. While Mecca is being kept very Holy and free from world travelers, Uluru in Australia, the world's largest monolith, also maintains its mystical significance as a sacred place for Aboriginal people. It is known for the striking beauty of the subtle colors. Half a million visitors a year go to the interior of Australia to observe giant landscapes and spectacular woody plants.
The Pacific island nation, Japan's mount Fuji, can also be described as one of the religious tourism sites. This mountain rises above the Japanese landscape as a sacred monument to Shintō and Buddhism traditions. It also functions as one of the most famous landmarks in Japan for tourists, regardless of religious background.
In addition, Indonesia has a countless number of people who visit many Buddhist temples every month of the year. There are also prehistoric sites in the Americas, which include monumental pyramids and other sacred buildings on Teotihuacan in central Mexico, and the Inca Machu Picchu ceremony in Peru, which remains a destination favored by many tourists around the world.
My personal favorite stop was at the Great Elah Valley of Israel, where there is a large ancient land where the battle between David and Goliath took place. I was there and the experience was extraordinary. Visitors come here to purify themselves through prayers, so you can imagine the revenue generated here.
There are many religious tourist attractions around the world that make a lot of money through tourism. Some of them are the Icelandic Hallgrimskirkja and the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica, which are beautifully built to please global visitors. These church buildings have attracted a lot of visitors from various backgrounds. These and several other places have amazing places for religious tourism.
Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, religion is the opposite. Some religious leaders swindle their members by exploiting them of their little possessions they have on them through questionable means.
Since the beginning of tourism, visitors have been fascinated by religion. Early European Renaissance travelers regularly visited churches, cathedrals, temples and other religious sites to learn more about the art, architecture, culture, and history of the countries they visit. From their experiences, they realized that these spiritual homes can be more beneficial in many ways, in addition to the main purpose they are built for. Tourism has become ubiquitous in modern life.
What is left is that each country should fully exploit this sector, and this requires good management and resources.
There are many religious, cultural, historical and natural attractions throughout the world that will attract many religious tourists if the resources are well managed.