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What Is the Religious Travel Industry?

Why Is It So Popular?

By Jessica RifflePublished 5 years ago 3 min read

While the reasons that people travel can be many, most people aren't going to think of religion as being even in the top five. However, religious tourism is actually in the top three, and is one of the sectors in which tourism has been growing each and every year. Most of this can be put down to the current ease of travel across the world, but some parts can actually be attributed to different ways of expressing and feeling your faith. In this article I'll go over a little bit of information, give a few basic examples, and explain why, for some, this tourism is becoming integral to their faith. If you have been thinking about taking part in religious tourism, I hope this article helps convince you to do so. If you live in an area that benefits from this type of tourism, I hope I can help you learn what the people taking part in it are looking for from your area.

What It's Not

Religious tourism is not the same as going on a missionary trip. While this is a religiously aimed trip, it's not one that's meant to be taken as a vacation or for enjoyment. It is also not a trip that happens to include a stop at a church, or one that is planned around being back in one's home area for the next holy day. It is also generally not connected to going home to see family for religious holidays, as that is normally covered under the statistic of visiting family.

A Few Examples

While we can preclude everything mentioned above, defining the rest of it is far too complicated for the scope of this article. Instead, I'll offer a few examples and most people should be able to extrapolate from there.

  • Christianity—A trip to view a specific church and worship there, such as Notre Dame. A trip to visit a relic held by a specific church. A trip to meet with The Pope, or any other high level religious figure. A pilgrimage towards a specific church with other believers.
  • Islam—A trip to a specific mosque. A trip to Mecca. A trip to walk in the steps of a saint.
  • Buddhism—A trip to stay at a monastery. A trip to go see a Lama or some other guru. A trip to the birthplace of the Buddha.
  • Other Groups—A trip to Salem, Massachusetts, a trip to an Ashram, my own trip to Japanese Temples.

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can be a religious tourist, but now that brings us to the question of why one would choose to do so.


As I mentioned earlier in the article, a large number of people from younger generations have been making these trips. While other parts of the tourism industry flounder, people who are making trips for religious purposes continue to grow in number. For many, this is simply because they have better access to travel, money, time off, or even just more knowledge about sites within their faith.

However, there are a growing group of younger believers in many different religions who want to experience their faith in much the same way as those who came before. These are the people signing up to go on 10 day pilgrimages through Spain, to walk in the paths of Saints in freezing cold weather, and to climb the highest peaks, and worship in front of the same views that their ancestors had. Many of these people feel that these actions, rather than attendance to physical meeting places, bring them closer to their faith. They feel that the time spent together with each other is worth more in terms of fellowship than anything they could experience in a more traditional setting would be. How about you, are you planning to go on a religious based trip any time soon?

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About the Creator

Jessica Riffle

33, First Nation's in diaspora from home. Mother of cats. Prone to random relocation and mood changes.Business inquiries; [email protected]

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