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Religious and Pilgrimage Tourism - International - February 2012

Religious tourism is a significant and rapidly growing segment within the tourism industry. It is sometimes referred to as faith tourism, faith-based travel, Christian travel, Muslim travel, or any other religious denomination linked with the words ‘travel’ or ‘tourism’. However, regardless of the name, the inference is that this is a form of tourism that is driven by a given faith.

As a sector, religious tourism is not well researched and documented. Few reliable statistics are available regarding its size and value within the tourism sector as a whole, mainly because only a few countries measure tourist arrivals using a classification that refers to ‘religion’ or ‘pilgrimage’. Consequently, most religious tourists are combined with ‘other leisure’ visitors, with most European countries classifying international inbound tourists into three purpose-of-visit groups: leisure/holiday; other leisure; and business/conference.

There are some exceptions to this, mainly in destinations where religious tourism is highly popular such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. In Saudi Arabia, religious tourism is the most significant type of tourism, and consequently the authorities measure it as a clearly defined activity.

Another common problem with the measurement of religious tourism relates to the inconsistent definition of the segment. Many statistics quoted by destinations and appearing in publications do not clearly identify whether they include only international religious tourists (ie those travelling from one country to another) or domestic religious tourists (ie those travelling to destinations within the same country in which they live) also. This probably generates the greatest misunderstandings when attempting to measure the volume and value of the sector.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • A growth segment
          • The world’s major religions
            • Figure 1: World’s major religious groups, 2011
        • Data Sources

          • History of Religious Tourism

              • Abrahamic religions
                • Christianity
                  • Figure 2: Number of adherents to the Christian faith, by country, 2010
                • Islam
                    • Figure 3: Number of adherents to the Muslim faith, by country, 2010
                  • Judaism
                    • Indian religions
                      • Hinduism
                        • Buddhism
                          • Sikhism
                          • Size and Characteristics of the Market

                              • Figure 4: International religious tourism trips, 2010
                            • Middle East
                              • Saudi Arabia
                                • Overall market size
                                  • Figure 5: Religious tourism trips to Saudi Arabia, 2006-10
                                • Seasonality
                                  • Figure 6: Religious tourism trips to Saudi Arabia, 2010
                                • Key markets
                                  • Figure 7: Top five religious tourist-generating countries to Saudi Arabia, 2010
                                • Expenditure
                                  • Umrah Plus
                                    • Israel and Palestine
                                      • Europe
                                        • France
                                          • Italy
                                            • Figure 8: Religious tourist arrivals in Italy, 2005-10
                                          • Spain
                                            • Figure 9: Religious tourist arrivals in Spain, 2005-11
                                          • Portugal
                                            • UK
                                              • Figure 10: Visitor numbers to UK cathedrals, 2010
                                            • Ireland
                                              • Rest of the world
                                                • Mexico
                                                  • Other countries
                                                  • Destinations Worldwide by Religion

                                                    • Christianity
                                                      • Figure 11: Visitor numbers to Christian religious destinations annually, to 2011
                                                    • Biblical sites in Israel and Palestine
                                                      • Leading Catholic sites
                                                        • Italy
                                                          • France
                                                            • Portugal
                                                              • Ireland
                                                                • Mexico
                                                                  • Christian pilgrimage routes
                                                                    • Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
                                                                      • Via Francigena, Italy
                                                                        • Pilgrim routes in Britain
                                                                          • Other Christian pilgrimages
                                                                            • Religious theme parks
                                                                              • Key religious events and festivals in the Christian calendar
                                                                                • Christmas in Bethlehem
                                                                                  • Holy Week: Easter at St Peters
                                                                                    • Infrastructure for Christian tourism
                                                                                      • Islam
                                                                                        • Holy Islamic sites
                                                                                          • Mecca, Saudi Arabia
                                                                                            • Medina, Saudi Arabia
                                                                                              • Jerusalem, Palestine
                                                                                                • Kairouan, Tunisia
                                                                                                  • Najaf, Iraq
                                                                                                    • Key religious events and festivals in the Islamic calendar
                                                                                                      • The Hajj
                                                                                                        • Umrah
                                                                                                          • Infrastructure for Islamic tourism
                                                                                                            • Hinduism
                                                                                                              • Hindu religious sites
                                                                                                                • Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
                                                                                                                  • Tirumala and Tirupati, Andra Pradesh, India
                                                                                                                    • Amarnath, Jammu & Kashmir, India
                                                                                                                      • Other Hindu temples
                                                                                                                        • Key religious events and festivals in the Hindu calendar
                                                                                                                          • Kumbh Mela
                                                                                                                            • Sabarimala, Kerala, India
                                                                                                                              • Char Dham, India
                                                                                                                                • Infrastructure for Hindu tourism
                                                                                                                                  • Buddhism
                                                                                                                                    • Buddhist pilgrimage sites
                                                                                                                                      • Birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha
                                                                                                                                        • Key religious events and festivals in the Buddhist calendar
                                                                                                                                          • Vesak, worldwide
                                                                                                                                            • Sikhism
                                                                                                                                              • Sikh temples
                                                                                                                                                • Punjab, India
                                                                                                                                                  • Key religious events and festivals in the Sikh calendar
                                                                                                                                                    • Judaism
                                                                                                                                                      • Jewish religious sites
                                                                                                                                                        • Jerusalem, Israel
                                                                                                                                                          • Other sites
                                                                                                                                                          • Religious Tourism Operators

                                                                                                                                                              • Christian pilgrimage tour operators
                                                                                                                                                                • Follow the Camino
                                                                                                                                                                  • Globus
                                                                                                                                                                    • ITS Travel
                                                                                                                                                                      • Tangney Tours
                                                                                                                                                                        • Haj and Umrah tour operators
                                                                                                                                                                          • Al Hamar Hajj & Umra Services
                                                                                                                                                                            • Al-Hidaayah Travel Limited
                                                                                                                                                                              • Other pilgrimage tour operators
                                                                                                                                                                                • Ulltimate
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kerala Travels
                                                                                                                                                                                  • What Next?

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Destination awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Spiritual rejuvenation
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Effects of migration and political change
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shift towards higher-spending tourists
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Boom in religious tourist arrivals by 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                            Religious and Pilgrimage Tourism - International - February 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                            US $377.39 (Excl.Tax)