It is estimated that over 2 million people visited Mecca in December of 2014 as part of the Hajj, one of the mandatory five pillars of Islam as required by the Quran (Ludovica, 2014). https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/28/muslim-population-country-projection-2030, Nigerian pilgrims having a hard time coming to Israel. Frayer, Janis Mackey. In 2015, 2 million Christians visited Bethlehem in Israel (Crosenberg, 2013). A record 2 million Christians visited Bethlehem in 2013. Retrieved from. This is common in many religions around the world, especially Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Religious tourism is the traveling of an individual or a group of individuals of a specific religion or faith to a location that holds religious impact. However, there are concerns about the corruption of religious integrity of Mecca and Medina in the wake of “swelling crowds [that] are changing the holy places beyond recognition” (Prepping for the pilgrimage, 2015). This is common in many religions around the world, especially Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Worldwide, the potential market for this type of tourism is immense, especially given that most travelers of this variety move in groups. Religious tourism is the traveling of an individual or a group of individuals of a specific religion or faith to a location that holds religious impact. For people of other religions, they go, and it’s definitely good because not just as a source of money for the country, but also to bridge the gaps between religions and try and break down stereotypes and teach people about other religions and make them more tolerant. Butt, Riazat. The importance of the Religious Tourism Market. (2016). Crosenberg, Joel. In general, benefits include observing and learning about the intended religion, people in their group of travelers and from the tourist area, culture, food, lifestyle and customs, and buildings or the environment. The influences of religious tourism are present in London as well. This paper analyzes examples of what constitutes religious tourism, businesses connected to the industry as a whole (hotels, theme parks), and viability and expansion as an industry, as well as the ethics of faith tourism. There are many benefits of religious tourism because people have the opportunity to learn so much about their own and other cultures, lifestyles, and religions. Luxury accommodations on Hajj are also on the rise, with first class flights and hotels catering to wealthier patrons receiving further development. [Makati City, Philippines]. There is so much to learn when one goes on a religious tourism adventure that it is close to impossible for someone to be a religious tourist and not take anything away from such an experience. Gho, Julia. Does increased financial temptation presented by businesses to religious persons compromise the purity of intent held by pilgrims? Tens of millions regularly turn out to honor Dwarka, Tirupati, Hindu Mela, and Ayyappan (Pilgrimage statistics, 2011). It also includes tourism by individuals who are not adherents to the faith represented at a particular site, with high foreign interest in sites such as the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Japan being an example. (2014). The theme park serves the threefold purpose of attracting foreign visitors, strengthening ties with foreign nations, and pacifying China’s twenty million strong Muslim minority (Muslim populations, 2011). The most viable large-scale investments in the religious tourism industry are the traditional ones. Being a religious tourist leads to greater passion and belonging into a religion. Many Christians desire to visit Israel to deepen their faith by visiting the sites of Biblical events, although no official pilgrimage is required by the religion. Prepping for the pilgrimage; Muslims head for Mecca. The paper highlights trends found in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and alternative religions, as well as investment trends of some case study countries. Is the environmental penalty of increasing international pilgrim travel worth the cost to the Earth? The customs practiced within a culture can be quite obvious and often throw tourists off guard. http://www.calvin.edu/chimes/2013/02/13/hindu-religious-festival-kumbh-mela-brings-millions-to-the-ganges/. its enthusiasm for religious tourism, with Secretary- General, Taleb Rifai, suggesting that ‘religious tourism can be one of the most effective tools to foster inclusive and sustainable development’. Turkey seeks pilgrimage tourists from PH. Corporate businesses, recognizing the purchasing power of the pious across faiths, have devised a way to make money off of the particularly faithful: faith theme parks. Dallas, Kelsey. Pope Francis drew 6 million to the Vatican in 2014. https://cruxnow.com/church/2014/12/29/pope-francis-drew-6-million-to-the-vatican-in-2014/. (2015, April 5). On another note, the locals are constantly given the opportunity to observe the tourists. (2011, January 1). Clearly, the benefits of religious tourism can teach the locals and the travelers. Being surrounded by others provides for the opportunity to observe their culture, clothes, food, and religious differences. The relationship between types of tourism services offered and their likely profitability is established. All of these journeys were acts of religious tourism. http://www.tourismandmore.com/tidbits/the-importance-of-the-religious-tourism-market/.

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