The recognition of marketing of spiritual tourism as a significant new area in leisure travel
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Muhammad HaqMuhammad Haq, Arthur JacksonArthur Jackson
This paper proposes that spiritual tourism be recognised as a distinct form of tourism. The term, spiritual tourism, is new, but the phenomenon itself is not. It is clear that there has been a shift from orthodox religious practice to a universal spiritual dimension of human psychology and it is also apparent that people from various religious backgrounds visit sacred sites to enjoy spiritual experiences rather than observing religious rituals. Since spirituality has a multi-dimensional definition, this paper defines spirituality as a relationship between the “creature and the Creator”, regardless of the religion followed. Consequently, people who travel with some sense of appreciating or understanding God can be considered to be spiritual tourists.This paper is a theoretical piece and places stress on the business and academic importance of spiritual tourism. Due to lack of literature on spiritual tourism and since it is suggested to be a subset of special interest tourism, the relevant theory on special interest tourism has been studied. This paper offers a contribution to tourism practice by introducing the concept of spirituality as a complete or partial tourism motive, and identifies a growing tourism market for countries seeking tourism opportunities for economic growth but which lack the required infrastructure. Spiritual tourism may assist economic revival in poorer countries that can not offer luxurious and fun-based tourism, but which can attract a significant amount of spiritual tourists.