Managing the Religious
19th-21st November 2009 - Nazaré, Portugal
Book of Abstracts
1) ‘Managing the Religious Tourism Experience’ ...................................................4
Dr Nigel D Morpeth 4
2) Can We Influence Effectively the Duration of the Religious Visit? ...................5
Christos Petreas 5
3) A Preliminary Study of Visitors to Merv (Turkmenistan)....................................6
Dr Jonathan Edwards 6
Roger Vaughan. 6
4) Religion, Remembrance and the ‘Rock’: Current trends in Australian Religious
Mr Nigel Bond 7
Dr Lisa Ruhanen 7
5) Developing Religious Tourism in Emerging Destinations: Experiences from
Mtskheta (Georgia) ........................................................................................8
Carlos Fernandes 8
6) The Interpretation of the Shared Past Within the World Heritage Site of Goreme,
Elizabeth Carnegie 9
Hazel Tucker 9
7) Visitors Experience of Travel to the City of Heaven (Madinah) .......................10
Razaq Raj 10
8) Between Pilgrimage and Tourism: Organization and Promotion of Shared
Noga Collins-Kreiner, 11
9) Travelling in Nazaré: Between Faith, Reality and Fiction.................................12
Isilda Leitão 12
10) Jesuitengunea: The Society of Jesus´ Tourism Development Project in the
Province Loyola (Spain) ..............................................................................13
Amaia Makua 13
Roberto San Salvador del Valle. 13
Magdalena Izaguirre 13
11) The Spiritual Quest: Europe’s Common Sacred Ground (A Historic Overview)14
Cristina Carvalho 14
12) The Role of a Religious Tourism Strategy for the West and North West of Ireland
in furthering the development of tourism in the region. ..........................15
Frances McGettigan 15
Corina Griffin 15
Fiona Candon 15
13) Those Who Come to Pray and Those who Come to Look: Interactions Between
Visitors and Congregations ........................................................................16
Maureen Griffiths 16
14) The Festivities of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, Azores .........................17
Vítor Ambrósio 17
15) Sustaining Churches Through Managing Tourism. A Review of Current
Practices in Derbyshire, England...............................................................18
Peter Wiltshier 18
16) Aspects Regarding the Religious Tourism Experience in Romanian Christian
Orthodoxy: A Monasteries Abbots’ Perceptions ......................................19
Alexandra-Maria îrca 19
Professor PhD Gabriela Cecilia Stănciulescu 19
17) Conflict Resolution, Middlemen Minorities and Heritage Tourism in Nazareth:
The Case of Nazareth Village......................................................................20
Amos S. Ron, Ph.D. 20
18) The Museum as Visitor Experience: Displaying Sacred Haitian Vodou Objects21
Maaike de Jong 21
19) Porto and the Emotions Given by the St. John’s Celebrations: A Special Interest
Tourist Experience ......................................................................................22
Susana Ribeiro, 22
20) A Comparison of Domestic Pilgrims at Polish and Irish Sites ........................23
Dr. Kevin Griffin 23
21) The Two Sides of the Coin: Visitors and ICT for Managing Ecclesiastic Heritage
Clara S. Petrillo, 24
Olga Lo Presti, 24
22) Accompanying Religious and Non-Religious Groups to Nazaré, Alcobaça and
Carla Braga 25
1) ‘Managing the Religious Tourism Experience’
Dr Nigel D Morpeth
Leeds Metropolitan University
Keywords: Church, Volunteers, Tourism, Management
This paper reports on research related to the management of religious attractions in the UK
to specifically gain insights into the capacity of religious places of worship to both share and
promote sacred and spiritual places, as places for tourists to visit . The background to the
context of this research is to further consider important questions arising from the
introduction of ‘new’ financial and pricing management strategies by cathedral authorities
within UK cathedrals and more widely by tourism organisations to promote churches as
venues for special interest tourism, namely Church Tourism.
The purpose of this work is to provide theoretical and empirical insights on:
The implications of managing UK cathedrals and churches using finite resources both in
terms of staff (volunteers) and limited operational budgets to both maintain places for
worship and leisure visitation
Consumer expectations as to what religious authorities should offer visitors in terms of
places for spiritual engagement but also educational, information and entertainment
The potential policy dissonance between church and cathedral authorities, local
authorities and tourist organisations in product development and marketing of religious
resources as part of destination marketing.
2) Can We Influence Effectively the Duration of the Religious
Business & Tourism Economist
Keywords: Religious Tourism, Visit Characteristics, Motivation, Meteora, Greece
Religious and pilgrimage tourism activity world wide is on the increase. Of the increased travel in the
Middle East, most is considered to be religious related (Mintel 2005). According to a study by Travel
Agent Globus (Globus 2007) one third of all US international travellers (close to 16 million adults) are
likely to take a religious related vacation. Kevin Wright, President of the Word Religious Tourist
Association (WRTA – 2009) considers religious travel an 18 billion US$ industry with 300 million
In the Globus study (2007) it is reported that 42% of the potential religious travelers want variety – a
50/50 mix of religious and non religious activities. Jafar Jafari’s Encyclopedia of Tourism (2000)
states as one of the three forms of religious tourism “tours and visits of religious places and buildings
within the framework of a tourists itinerary”. In most cases, the religious tourism activity refers to
religious monument – sites visitation, and the visit’s duration is just part of a day excursion or day
programme, thus limiting the anticipated positive effects of the visits in the local community and the
area tourist enterprises.
In looking through the description of religious tour itineraries, the main characteristic is that they
rarely spend more than a few hours in a specific site or location, thus making the visit of each site
very short. To what extent this is satisfactory to the tourist is one aspect, but it is definitely not
satisfactory to the local tourist businesses that have a very limited exposure to the visitors, to offer
their services and gain sales.
Not to differ, this situation is experienced in many religious sites in Greece. Tinos, a very popular
pilgrimage site for the Virgin Mary (also considered a miraculous site), primarily receives day visitors,
who come by boat and return the same day. Meteora (a UNESCO site with 6 visitable monasteries),
one of top visited sites in Greece (estimates of over one million visitors) experiences overnights of
not more than about ¼ of the total visitor numbers, while the religious and non religious attractions of
the area could justify a multi-day stay.
The interest to retain the “religious visitor” for a longer stay in the specific site or shrine, is becoming
a major concern of the tourism professionals and affects directly the economy of the area. The
“length of the religious tourism visit” has thus become a tourism development issue.
The author has investigated this issue through a series of research activities in the area of Meteora;
he has interviewed local tourist enterprises, representatives of the Monasteries, and mounted a field
research with questionnaires to tourists. The paper investigates the characteristics of this practice
and the factors to which this is attributed, though the analysis of data from the visits to the site of
Meteora in Central Greece. The paper identifies a number of factors that explain this situation and
proposes certain actions to achieve at least one overnight.
3) A Preliminary Study of Visitors to Merv (Turkmenistan)
Dr Jonathan Edwards
Keywords: Visitors, Pilgrims, Merv-Turkmenistan
Merv was the first of the World Heritage Sites in Turkmenistan to be designated by UNESCO (1999)
having been nationally designated in 1987 as “Ancient Merv” a State Historical and Cultural reserve.
This Archaeological Park contains early city-sites, for exampe the Seljuk city Sultan-Kala and
religious or sacred buildings including the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar dating from the 12th century
and another group of buildings erected in the 16th century to honor the eminent 12th-century Sufi
scholar Hodja Yusup Hamadani. This shrine is a particularly notable focus of pilgrimage and has
associated with it a series of buildings for religious observance and sacrifice.
This paper presents a preliminary analysis of the responses of Turkmen visitors to Merv.
The aim of the paper is firstly to determine a preliminary profile of visitors to a site which has historic
and cultural significance for some and is a venue of shrine pilgrimage for others; secondly to review
the respondent’s assessment of the management of a visitor attraction where tribal traditions and
Islamic beliefs and practices are a key consideration for visitors and site managers.
The preliminary conclusions support observations at other sites in Turkmenistan that clearly
demonstrate that following more than 100 years of Russian / Soviet colonization and particularly the
65 years of Soviet policies which sought to portray any form of religious belief and practice as a sign
of ignorance that the Turkmen Sufi inspired form of Islam that accommodates older pre-Islamic
beliefs and customs, integrated into a tribal society remains vibrant for an as yet, undetermined
percentage of the Turkmen nation.
4) Religion, Remembrance and the ‘Rock’: Current trends in
Australian Religious Tourism
Mr Nigel Bond
University of Queensland School of Tourism
Dr Lisa Ruhanen
University of Queensland School of Tourism
Keywords: Cultural-Heritage, Remembrance, Religiosity
This paper draws on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Tourism Research Australia to
examine the current status, demand and potential of religious tourism in Australia. It presents an
analysis of current Australian religiosity, and discusses Australian tendency towards secular and civil
religion. An analysis of current travel patterns suggests that Australia is presently not a major
inbound religious tourism destination, nor is it a major source market of religious tourists. However,
while religious tourism per se is not currently a significant segment of Australia’s inbound tourism,
this research shows that cultural-heritage is certainly a major component of Australia’s tourism
A review of Australian religiosity indicates that the distance between practicing and nominal
Christians is being redressed through secular spiritualities or at lest non-Church institutional contexts.
As such, the opportunities for religious tourism in a traditional sense show less scope for growth than
secular or civil religion. Undertaking journeys to such places as the Canberra War Memorial for
domestic tourists, or internationally travelling to significant Australian battle sites such as Gallipoli are
becoming an increasingly important part of the Australian travel experience.
An analysis of Australia’s religious tourism sites shows that there are only a small number of (non-
Indigenous) religious sites that attract international or domestic visitors on a regular basis. Such sites
include the Church of Our Lady of Yankailla (South Australia) and Saint Mary’s Cathedral (New
South Wales). Despite paucity of significant religious sites, Australia does host several significant
religious festivals. These include the Buddha’s Birthday festivals held across several states around
the country. One such Festival (in Brisbane Queensland) is now the largest religious/cultural festival
in Australia attracting over 150,000 visitors annually.
The results of this research suggest that the future for both inbound and outbound religious and
cultural tourism in Australia appears positive and certainly an area with scope for growth. Australian’s
love of the Outback, and reverence for the landscape could be used as a catalyst to create an
interest in more spiritually-focussed travel, directed both at the natural landscape, and/or at some of
the many historic churches or religious buildings that cover the country.
5) Developing Religious Tourism in Emerging Destinations:
Experiences from Mtskheta (Georgia)1
Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo
Keywords: Religious Heritage And Tourism Revitalization
Mtskheta is a historical town within a few kilometres northwest of Georgia´s national capital of Tbilisi.
The “historic churches of Mtskheta” comprise a group of churches that are listed as an UNESCO
World Heritage Site as they bear testimony to the high level and art and culture of the vanished
Kingdom of Georgia, which played an outstanding role in the medieval history of its region and are
outstanding examples of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the Caucasus region (UNESCO,
Traditionally, Georgia is not a tourism oriented country. But in the last few years the entire country
has been undergoing tourism revitalization. Ancient historic monuments such as the “historic
churches of Mtskheta” are seen as favourable conditions in which tourism can flourish. Rehabilitating
historical facades of monuments in historical towns is common practice in Georgia. But no
management plan exists for rehabilitating and maintaining cultural and historic monuments. In fact,
UNESCO (2008) identified certain threats to the religious heritage sites of Mtskheta which include:
the lack of a management mechanism; insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and
the national Authorities; need to re-define core and buffer zones; and loss of authenticity due to
recent “erroneous reconstruction” works carried out by the Church.
This comes at a time when expectations of today´s experiential traveler are becoming increasingly
difficult to satisfy. The increasingly competitive tourism market requires that destination planning and
development differentiate the tourism product by monitoring current trends which serve to identify
demand, new market potentials, areas of possible investment and infrastructural requirements.
Destinations need to create great people places of exceptional character, quality and planning and
where the experiences are exciting, rich with activity and highly memorable (Dios, 2008). Mtskheta
potential to become an important tourist attraction and contribute to putting Georgia on the tourist
map is further threatened by the lack of emotional added value (ambience, experience,
entertainment, adventure, and contact with local lifestyles).
The objective of this paper is to define strategic imperatives within which to develop the appropriate
framework should the Mtskheta Region of Georgia hope to develop its potential for religious tourism
and profit from tourism in the long term. Observational data was collected during a visit to the site.
Consequently, efforts are underway to develop future research using alternative methods such as
Research conducted during a visit to Georgia in September 2009, under the “Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation
Window for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan” Project, funded by the European Union, under the Erasmus Mundus
6) The Interpretation of the Shared Past Within the World
Heritage Site of Goreme, Cappadocia
University of Sheffield, U.K.
University of Otago, New Zealand
Keywords: Byzantine churches, visitors, tour guides
The Byzantine history of the World Heritage Site of Göreme (inscribed 1985) has become embedded
as the dominant narrative and key historic period interpreted within the ‘open air’ museum. Focusing
on the Christian nature of the site endows it with international legitimacy which enables it to attract
large numbers of Western tourists. By emphasising this Byzantine past, formally trained local guides,
who are invariably drawn from other faith communities, are highlighting how cultural memory and
identity shaping can operate within tourism as a powerful discourse, silencing certain narratives
about the past and privileging others. Moreover, discussions with local guides suggest there is an
expectation that, as a Christian site, it will be experienced by tourists as a place of pilgrimage. Based
on fieldwork carried out in November 2008 and September 2009, and drawing on Tucker’s
longitudinal study of the region, this paper examines how the site is interpreted. Fieldwork included
participant observation, interviews with tour guides, museum workers and local and international
tourists, representing a number of religions and cultures. Through exploring attitudes to and
knowledge of the Christian scenes depicted within the cave structures and the time frame explored
within the representational framework, our study details the religious tensions within the interpretation
and management of the site for tourist purposes. Thus our paper considers these tensions from
multiple viewpoints including from Islamic perspectives (locals and tour guides) and of tourists
(cultural tourist visitors and pilgrims) and explores the management issues that impact on the
experience and long term care and development of the site. In so doing our research discloses how
these multiple narratives contradict, challenge and subvert the dominant WHS interpretation.
7) Visitors Experience of Travel to the City of Heaven
Leeds Metropolitan University
Keywords: Experience, Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), West
In the modern society which, by definition is increasingly secular and culturally motivated. The Hajj is
considered the culmination of each Muslim's religious duties and aspiration. It is stated in the Holy
Qur'an, that every physically and financially able Muslim should make the Hajj to the Holy City of
Makkah once in his or her lifetime. The Muslim travel to the city of Madinah, after performing the Hajj,
as part of religious believes, not as an escape for leisure and entertainment. It is not like any other
pilgrimage in the world, where people go on pilgrim sites as attention of tourism. The people who go
to Madinah feeling unanimous in the view that nothing can quite prepare them for the sheer beauty of
the experience and the overwhelming feeling of humbleness that overcomes them during the pilgrim
Nolan and Nolan (1992) remind us that ‘if a tourist is half a pilgrim, then a pilgrim is half a tourist’
expresses the complexity of the blurred conceptual boundaries which might hamper the analysis of
what constitutes a religious tourist. Furthermore their classification of what constitutes a tourist
system in which a variety of types of religious tourist attractions exist, highlights the increasing
pressures of visitation patterns within the burgeoning context of an experience sector (Richards,
2001). The acute pressures are related to religious venues trying to cater for both sacred and secular
This paper will begin with the Islamic approach to life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and explain the
principles on which Islamic values for society are based according to the teachings Allah (SWT) and
the perfect examples of his Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The paper will explore the experience of
individual participant visiting the City like heaven for tourists. The paper will discuss main principle
rites and experiences of visiting and they're meaning to an individual person.
8) Between Pilgrimage and Tourism: Organization and
Promotion of Shared Spaces
University of Haifa, Israel
Keywords: Pilgrimage, Bahai, World Heritage Site
This paper aims to give recommendations for development, organization and promotion of shared
spaces of pilgrimage and tourism while exploring the inherent contradiction and conflict that arise
when sacred sites are marketed as secular for the promotion of tourism.
The case study used for demonstration is the Baha’i Gardens and shrine in Israel which have also
become a World Heritage Site in 2008. They were found to be multi-dimensional spaces
characterized by two different socio-spatial processes and practices that co-exist - the tourist’s and
the pilgrim’s. The differences are identified by space, time and content. These practices transform the
holy site into a secular shared community asset.
The study employs a mixed methodological approach. The researcher engaged in participant
observation and had short informal and unstructured discussions with Baha’i volunteers and guides.
As a participant observer, the author participated in the tours as a tourist and researcher many times
since the year 2001. Archival material from a variety of resources including the Baha’i, the
municipality of Haifa, printed news outlets, the internet, and other Baha’i resources were accessed.
With respect to internet resources, access to pilgrim diaries has provided key data not readily
available to non-Baha’i. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were performed to provide additional
data on the spatial practices and strategies of the Baha’i staff and local leaders.
The background used to explain this issue is the understanding that pilgrims and tourists are distinct
entities situated at opposite ends of a continuum of travel. The polarities on the pilgrimage-tourism
axis are labeled sacred versus secular, and between them ranges an almost endless list of possible
sacred-secular combinations, with the central area generally termed “religious tourism”. These
positions reflect the multiple and changing motivations of the traveler whose interests and activities
may switch from tourism to pilgrimage and vice versa, even as the individual may be unaware of the
The paper concludes with a discussion of the broader implications concerning the efficacy of
developing a “layered” experience as found in the case of the Baha’i in order to try and avoid conflict
and improve benefits for the local population. It will also give recommendations for development,
organization and promotion of other shared spaces of pilgrimage and tourism in the world.
9) Travelling in Nazaré: Between Faith, Reality and Fiction
Coordinator of History and Culture Area in ESHTE
Keywords: Travel Literature, Sacred and Tourism
Nazaré, a symbolical, religious and mythical place, had motivated the interest of some Portuguese
intellectuals, from XIX and XX centuries, who represented it and go there not only by the mythical
charge of the sacred, but also by the picturesque of the daily life of the people and their fishing
With this communication, we aim to share some of the moments of their experiences, fixed both in
Literature and the Art.
Introduction - We intend to provide some of the geographical, historical, and social contexts, which
makes Nazaré a place of attraction during centuries, connecting it with others sacred territories in the
Atlantic Coast, since Moyen Age.
Methodology - To this study we have research in some specialised Religious bibliography and in
travel books of Portuguese authors like Ramalho Ortigão, Miguel Torga, José Saramago, between
others, and in painters like José de Almada Negreiros, to evaluate what could represent Nazaré to
the Contemporary Age.
Last Reflections - We can say that nowadays Nazaré still remains not only one of the centres of the
"sun and beach", cultural and picturesque tourism, but also, in the imaginary of people, the place
where the Archetypal Feminine or Great Mother once was revealed to men...
10) Jesuitengunea: The Society of Jesus´ Tourism
Development Project in the Province Loyola (Spain)
University of Deusto.
Roberto San Salvador del Valle.
University of Deusto.
University of Deusto.
Keywords: Humanist Leisure experience, religious tourism, tourism chain of value
The Society of Jesus works since 2007 in the JesuitenGunea Project, which aims to tell the world
about the Identity, the History and the Mission of the Society through the development of a tourist
package bound to the Jesuit Heritage in the Province of Loyola, where the Society has its most
ancient roots. The Society is committed to the support of its heritage with a well defined philosophy
regarding its visitors (with recreative, spiritual, scholastic and scientific motivations) and their living of
meaningful leisure experiences.
The contents of the paper is as follows:
The bases of JesuitenGunea in the Province of Loyola (Spain): its goal, the visitors reception points
(Sanctuaries of Loyola and Javier and the University of Deusto) and their attractions.
The philosophic and conceptual keys of the project:
The humanist leisure experience and its objective and subjective dimensions
The particular interpretation of the “door” concept and its application to this project.
As a result a chart combining visitors’ ´motivations, objectives of the visit and contents offered for the
individual readiness to live memorable leisure experiences.
The tourist chain of value for the conversion of the resources into a tourist package.
The methodology and project structure.
The proposals for intervention in the Sanctuary of Loyola: supported by a diagnosis of the
Sanctuaries (SWOT Analysis), a Vision & Mission are formulated and defined by action axis
and specific actions.
The program “Visits with a Soul” in the Sanctuary of Loyola: a pilot experience in the Sanctuary of
Loyola: the firs specific action that takes place has been this guided visit program during the 2009
summer. The evaluation of the initiative will be presented.
11) The Spiritual Quest: Europe’s Common Sacred Ground (A
Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies
Keywords: History, Tourism, (Spiritual) Quest.
While some scholars commit themselves to debate the economic, sociological and urban impacts
tourism has on certain sacred sites focusing on ‘Cause and Effect’ matters, historians prefer to work
as ‘memory collectors’, gathering information on the ‘When’, ‘Who’ and ‘Why’, according to the
different stages of evolution of societies. To understand the present one must know the past, in order
to better prepare the future. This presentation will not focus on a case study per se, but rather travel
through Time to recall Europe’s spiritual quest from Pre-historic days up to now. That is why it is so
hard to define ‘Religious Tourism’, since the quest is still on and academic perspectives are manifold.
Mankind’s reverence towards higher powers began inside caves and was later displayed on open-air
stone structures known as megaliths. Then the Ancient Greeks journeyed to attend athletic games
where gods like Zeus were worshiped, but Christianity would erase those events, alongside with all
Pagan references across the Roman Empire. As for Portugal, after a few centuries under the Moorish
influence, the 12th century was marked by the actions of St. Bernard, who persevered for Portugal’s
foundation and the spreading of the Marian cult, while north-European believers travelled to Santiago
de Compostella’s shrine, in Galicia.
Skipping to the 16th century, the golden age of the Portuguese Discoveries was a paradoxal period
when Lisbon’s harbour witnessed the arrival of overseas treasures and also recurrent outbreaks of
plague. Two devotional displays were then created in order to request God’s mercy: the pilgrimage to
Guia’s hermitage, in Cascais, and the procession to Our Lady of Health. Proceeding to the 18th
century, John V sponsored the construction or journeyed as pilgrim to the Marian sanctuaries located
uphill in Lamego, and at the headlands of Espichel and Nazaré. However, Portugal’s real large-scale
pilgrimage centre would only progressively rise in Fátima during the Dictatorship of the 20th century,
after the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady to three young shepherds.
On the other hand, since the 1960s Europe has been witnessing the revival of Pagan practises that
turned archaeological sites protected by the UNESCO, like Stonehenge and Avebury, into New Age
temples. At the beginning of the 21st century, the contemporary techno-worshipper attends online
masses on wireless laptops, proving that despite the means the quest remains unchanged.
12) The Role of a Religious Tourism Strategy for the West and
North West of Ireland in furthering the development of tourism
in the region.
Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland
Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland
First Western Consultants
Keywords: Co-operation,. Strategy. Implementation.
Despite the fact that the West of Ireland receives 16% of foreign visitors to Ireland and the North
West receives only 6% of foreign visitors to Ireland there is potential for further tourism development
in this region. Religious tourism in particular remains hugely under-developed despite the existence
of three world-renowned religious sites (Knock Shrine, Croagh Patrick, and Lough Derg Penitential
Site) in this region of Ireland. In 2008, however, the Irish National Tourism Development Authority
Fáilte Ireland commissioned the development of an integrated strategy for positioning the West and
North West region of Ireland as a world renowned destination for spiritual tourism. It was proposed
that this would be done through innovation in the current and new product offering, under the premise
that visitors would be enticed to stay longer if diverse products and niche experiences were made
This paper aims to explain how a bottom-up and inter- regional approach was adopted to drive the
process to develop a Spiritual Tourism Strategy for the region. Details of the strategy are outlined in
the paper and in particular, an examination of the implementation process. In this context, the
importance of institutional arrangements, co-operation, networking, partnership, and packaging are
key factors responsible for successfully implementing this strategy.
At the outset communication took place between Athlone Institute of Technology and First Western
Consultants.. A review of existing literature on spiritual tourism was conducted. First Western
Consultants were responsible for data collection from interviews with national and international
tourism stakeholders and tour operators. Two regional consultation meetings established the strategy
vision and developed priority actions for spiritual tourism in the region. Other consultations took place
with stakeholders with a remit or interest in the industry. Parallel to this Athlone Institute of
Technology was conducting research including the nature of the visitor experience at Lough Derg
Penitential Site, Co. Donegal which added to the content and thrust of the final strategy.
13) Those Who Come to Pray and Those who Come to Look:
Interactions Between Visitors and Congregations
Tourism Research Unit at Monash University, Australia
Keywords: visitor experience, congregation
While much of the literature relating to religious tourism concentrates on pilgrimage and those visiting
shrines and religious sites with religious intentions, little has been written of those who visit for other
reasons and how these two groups interact. Those wishing to pray may expect a level of serenity
that may not be accommodated by those wishing to view architectural features.
The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between the congregations and visitors at two
major religious sites which receive significant numbers of visitors for other than religious reasons.
While the congregation attends the religious sites at specific times for a specific purpose, the visitors
come and go irregularly. It is the interactions between these two groups and their attitudes towards
one another in relation to the use of these sites that forms the focus of this paper. There are
implications for site managers if visitors to religious sites have motivations which conflict with those of
the congregation and resulting interactions between the groups then become less than harmonious.
If conflict arises then the congregation could become unhappy, adversely affecting the visitor
This paper considers the views of visitors who were surveyed to find out, among other things, the
reason for their visit and their attitudes to the religious aspects of the cathedral and the congregation.
Members of the congregations were similarly asked about their attitudes towards the visitors. Another
issue that was canvassed with both visitors and the congregations was that of entrance fees being
charged at the cathedrals. It was found that, overwhelmingly, the congregations are happy for the
visitors to attend the cathedrals and participate in worship but that significant numbers dislike being
14) The Festivities of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, Azores
Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies (ESHTE)
Keywords: Devotion to Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres; Azores.
The devotion to Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres is evident amongst the population of São Miguel,
Azores (Portugal), but it spreads beyond it, into the other islands, mainland Portugal and the
migrating Diaspora, mainly in North America (United States and Canada).
For more than 300 years, the imposing procession takes place in the capital of the archipelago,
Ponta Delgada, bringing together in homage to the “Ecce Homo” not only the devotee, but also the
local social powers.
The most evident feature of this devotion to God can be seen in the festivities that are held every
year, on the fifth week after Easter Sunday, finishing with the procession on the Sunday before
The brotherhood’s board is responsible for the organization of the festivities and its main goal is to
encourage the devotion to Santo Cristo dos Milagres, especially the procession and the festivities
that surround it.
During the festivities most hotels reach full occupancy. Most of their guests come from mainland
Portugal and from North America. The latter ones are either immigrants or their descendents who left
the islands searching for better living conditions in the United States and in Canada.
In order to know the tourist impact of the last festivities and the behavioural characteristics of the
guests lodged in the hotels, the Azorean Government commissioned a study to Estoril Higher
Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies (ESHTE).
Around 420 tourists were surveyed and their answers allowed for the systematization of the data: to
trace their social-demographical characteristics; to define the religious traits and to map out
In the paper/communication I will present the results of the above-mentioned study and I will propose
to make a similar study during the next September religious festivities of Our Lady of Nazaré
(Portugal), in Nazaré so as to expand the tourist demand to that destination.
15) Sustaining Churches Through Managing Tourism. A Review
of Current Practices in Derbyshire, England
University of Derby Buxton
Keywords: Church, tourism, tourism management, partnerships, visitor experience
This report identifies the importance placed by the Church to the provision of services for visitors in
Derbyshire. The project was commissioned by the Industrial Mission, Church of England, in the
Diocese of Derby. The outcomes and output of the project are assessed for the twin purposes of
meeting the expectations of the Anglican Church and the extent to which tourism can support the
Church. In Derbyshire, the Church, a Christian place of worship for more than a millennium, offers
visitors a clear and unambiguous attraction yet spiritual and religious tourism remains one of the
most understudied areas (Ron, 2007). People now travel for a variety of complex personal needs as
they aim for some spiritual nirvana, or self- actualisation (Hall, cited in Timothy & Olsen, 2007).
Opinion Research Business (ORB) research conducted in 2003 identified that 90% of people in
England went into a church building at least once in any year (Sheppard, 2006: 10). Using an
inductive and interpretive approach a representative sample of church staff was interviewed. The
report identifies a model of tourism management that can be used by churches to benefit the
community as well as the visitor. Partnerships between the sacred and the secular are explored for
the mutual benefit of concerned parties. Some churches identified are taking advantage of localised
resources that deliver a successful tourism product. It is therefore a cautious nod that is given to the
partnership approach and very much a tailor-made model of accessible tourism development that is
proposed for the future.
16) Aspects Regarding the Religious Tourism Experience in
Romanian Christian Orthodoxy: A Monasteries Abbots’
Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Professor PhD Gabriela Cecilia Stănciulescu
Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies
Keywords: Religious tourism; Romania; Orthodox monasteries.
For hundreds of years, people have been travelling to places deemed as sacred to meet or to
worship Divinity. Religion-motivated tourism is extremely important in many parts of the world. In
Romania, the only Latin country in East-Central Europe and the only Latin country whose main
religion is Orthodox Christian, religious ceremonies to celebrate Saints’ days as well as all the related
places and relics represent places for prayer and meeting with God for millions of people. The aim of
this paper is to investigate the issue of the religious tourism experience for a religion considered to be
conservative and traditionalist in relation to other denominations. In order to achieve this end, firstly
we distinguish the behavioural characteristics and motivations of the religious sites’ visitors through
the abbots’ gaze and secondly, we explore the typology of the services provided by religious sites to
religious tourists. The research method of this study was a questionnaire based survey among more
than one hundred monasteries’ superiors from different regions of Romania, places known as “holy
or sacred” destinations for the Romanian religious people. Results indicated that abbots’
expectations concerning their visitors are focused on religious matters, but they are also interested in
offering touristic related facilities. Moreover, they do not neglect the commercial side of the
monastery life. The article concludes with an examination of the possible management issues
brought by an increased number of visitors at the religious settlement.
17) Conflict Resolution, Middlemen Minorities and Heritage
Tourism in Nazareth: The Case of Nazareth Village
Amos S. Ron, Ph.D.
Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel
Managing heritage sites in multi-ethnic and multi-cultural settings can be difficult and even
'explosive', since heritage is not an objective term, but rather, something that can be interpreted in
several ways, and therefore, can be contested and debated. Nazareth Village in Nazareth, Israel
(established in 2000) is such an example. It is a heritage Christian theme site that presents – using
staged authenticity - daily life in the time of Jesus.
The cultural context of Nazareth is a complex one. On the one hand, it is an Arab city in the Jewish-
Israeli State, but on the other hand, it is set within a bicultural community (Christian and Muslim) that
is experiencing a rapid process of Islamization. In this highly explosive setting, Nazareth Village has
established itself as a relatively non-controversial and non-contested heritage site amongst the Arabs
in Galilee. As one indicator of cultural success, we can observe their attitude towards the non-
Christian heritage of their Muslim neighbors. Originally, the developers’ aim was to attract foreign
Christian tourists, but in the course of the recent Intifada, when few tourists visited the country, they
had to change their clientele in order to survive, and surprisingly, the site became very popular
among Muslim schools in Israel.
During those years, the common narrative presented to young Muslim visitors was that the site was
preserving the rapidly disappearing material culture of rural Palestine, or in other words, “We - at
Nazareth Village - are presenting and protecting your heritage”. Considering the cultural complexity
of Israel, such an occurrence is a success. One possible way to explain it is in light of Bonacich’s
Theory of Middleman Minorities, which suggests that such people have the “functional advantages of
foreignness”, and are therefore free to deal with anyone; they have a “...peculiar ability to create
success out of hatred”.
The research methodology in this case is qualitative, and consists of observations, participant
observations and in-depth interviews with the local guides, the managers, and members of the Board
The site was established, and is managed by a North American Mennonite organization. Quite a few
members and the founding director are not local and can be regarded as representatives of a
middleman minority. The research findings point to several cases where success was achieved
precisely because they were perceived to be neutral and not members of one local group or another.
The main conclusion of the research is that the development of heritage sites in conflict areas by an
appropriate middleman minority can be a useful and powerful tool in the management and resolution
of cultural conflicts.
18) The Museum as Visitor Experience: Displaying Sacred
Haitian Vodou2 Objects
Maaike de Jong
University Qatar (former CHN University)
In an age when religion and religious interpretation have become popular subjects for debate, the
question emerges: How can museums fulfill their roles as managers of collections and interpreters of
culturally sensitive Diaspora African objects? This research, The Museum as Visitor Experience:
Displaying Sacred Haitian Vodou Objects discusses how museums can integrate traditions of the
past, the demands of the present, and the opportunities for the future as they engage in a discourse
about sacred objects in a museum context. It looks at the museum experience from a visitor’s point of
view. It integrates qualitative research and draws from fields such as the “experience economy” and
“museum studies”. The “Vodou” exhibition at the Amsterdam Tropical museum, The Netherlands
(210.000 visitors on yearly basis, this making it a substantial Amsterdam visitor attraction), was used
as a case study. This paper provides an insight into the visitor’s interpretation of Haitian sacred
objects and the sacred nature of non-religious objects. It covers a range of topics including design
criteria for representing spirituality to visitors and sharing authority with source communities.
Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion from the country of Haiti. It is based upon a assimilation of the
spiritual values and practices of West African peoples, (mainly the Fon and Ewe; see West African Vodun),
with Roman Catholic Worship, which was brought about as African slaves were brought to Haiti in the 16th
century and required to convert to the religious belief systems of their slaveholders, while at the same time
maintaining their African spiritual values.  Stevens-Arroyo, A.M. (2002). "The Contribution of Catholic
Orthodoxy to Caribbean Syncretism" (PDF). Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions 19 (117 (January-
March)): 37-58. http://assr.revues.org/index2477.html?file=1. Retrieved 10-10-2009 and The Book of Vodou,
Gordon, L. p 10
19) Porto and the Emotions Given by the St. John’s
Celebrations: A Special Interest Tourist Experience
Câmara Municipal do Porto,
Universidade Lusófona do Porto e Associação Portuguesa de Turismologia
Keywords: Events and experiences, planning and destination management, special interest
Porto is a historical tourist city and its historical centre has been Cultural Heritage Site for 13 years. A
recent study shows that the main reasons for visiting Porto are holidays and leisure. Monuments and
gastronomy (Port Wine) is what tourists find most interesting. Does this indicate that tourists coming
to this city are driven by cultural interests? According to the same study, 43% of the tourists return
home quite satisfied with Porto, and even 93% recommend the destination. However, only 32% have
the intention of doing it again. So, they appreciate and recommend the city, and this is positive, but a
significant part believes that Porto has nothing else to show. Is this true? Or does this mean that
Porto should diversify, creating new reasons to (re) visit this old town?
History indicates that the St. John’s celebrations have been the ex-libris of Porto’s spirit for
approximately 700 years. It is believed that such cultural expression, traditionally spontaneous, may
please an audience that it’s moved by special interests, looking for particular aspects of a culture or
an event in the places it visits, to keep memory, not only of a souvenir or an emotion, but also of
knowledge acquired, a unique experience that St. John’s celebrations can induce, satisfying and
adding value to the trip.
It’s time to plan and manage this tourism destination, as a city of culture, of religious-profane
traditions, and of events, and the probability of providing major contributions to city reputation and to
the indispensable tourism development will be higher .
20) A Comparison of Domestic Pilgrims at Polish and Irish
Dr. Kevin Griffin
Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
Keywords: Experience, Motivation, Comparative research
For some, the motives behind much modern pilgrimage are an extension of ordinary religious
devotion. At the simplest level, pilgrimage may be no more than a desire to visit other religious
centres, based on the same kind of curiosity that drives the tourist to seek out monuments of art or
history, but with a different and more personal subject as its focus.
However, in reviewing research that is specific to pilgrimage tourism, the complexity of motivations
acting upon pilgrims makes such simplistic definitions difficult to accept. For example, studies carried
out in Japan, by Reader (2005) suggest a variety of motivations for pilgrimage, with few pilgrims
identifying just one reason. Likewise, Fleischer (2000), in a study of pilgrims to the Holy Land,
suggests that those who regard themselves as pilgrims have different personal characteristics and
visitation patterns from other tourists visiting Israel.
Turner and Turner (1978:20) (in Digance 2003) believed pilgrimage to be a liminal phenomenon
which lingers at the fringe of religious life, and that the element of communitas i.e. the feeling of
brotherhood among pilgrims, is a key characteristic of pilgrimage. They claim “a tourist is half a
pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist”.
The aim of this paper is to explore some of these contradictory (or even conflicting) themes and
challenges, to interrogate the experience of domestic pilgrimage in both Ireland and Poland. Using
three small-scale surveys of pilgrims as a lens for investigation, it aims to identify some
commonalities and contrasts in the areas of motivation, expectation and experience.
This paper is based on primary research undertaken by the author with pilgrims on a day trip to a
National shrine in Ireland, and work undertaken at a number of Irish and Polish sites by postgraduate
students in undertaking their own postgraduate research.
21) The Two Sides of the Coin: Visitors and ICT for Managing
Clara S. Petrillo,
Istituto di Ricerche sulle Attività Terziarie, Napoli, Italia.
Olga Lo Presti,
Istituto di Ricerche sulle Attività Terziarie, Napoli, Italia.
Keywords: ecclesiastic heritage, religious tourism experience, new technology.
Visitors to ecclesiastic sites have very different interests, values, characteristics, behaviours and
expenditure patterns. Heritage tourism – and even more religious tourism - is a phenomenon based
on tourists’ motivations and perceptions rather than on the site’s attributes and objective
Heritage protection and tourism development are not usually integrated, leading to a challenging
trade-off. Thus, integrated and participatory heritage governance is needed to achieve sustainable
development (Orbasli, 2000; Hasse & Milne, 2005).
Information and communication technology (ICT) plays a critical role in the shared planning
processes. Recent researches suggest that participatory development can be greatly supported
through technologies. New technologies applied to Cultural Heritage are a strong incentive for its
dissemination, fruition and awareness. Technologies are completely changing both the patterns of
enhancement, promotion and enjoyment and the behaviour of managers and users, as well as local
community and actors’ actions.
Our purpose is to investigate the two sides of the coin: from one hand the typologies of visitors, their
behaviour and needs; from the other hand the implementation of technology in the management of
the religious tourism experience.
A critical study of the international literature on heritage’s enhancement and promotion is developed;
an empirical phase is implemented by conducting research and analysis of technology applied to
ecclesiastic heritage. Through interviews and questionnaires the best practices developed in the
analytical field are identified.
This paper shows research’s first results: visitors have different ways of involving in the process of
edutainment by using technology; and Church Institution shows an high degree of utilisation in order
to communicate and educate people to evangelization.
These tools will be useful to understand the adaptability of these technologies to the needs of users,
recipients and territories; their degree of enhancement and promotion; and the measures that can be
implemented for an efficient and effective governance of heritage and territory.
22) Accompanying Religious and Non-Religious Groups to
Nazaré, Alcobaça and Batalha
Lecturer at ESHTE, Portugal
Keywords: Experience, Motivation, Comparative research
Being a Tourist Guide for 15 years, gives one a large opportunity to observe and analyse the
behaviour of the tourists, visitors of religious places. The behaviour of different types of tourist
depends in a large scale if they are religious groups or non-religious groups.
Our aim is to present the different kind of approach and guided tours that a Tourist Guide makes with
religious and non-religious groups, because the aim of the visit by non-religious groups is mainly
historical and cultural, and the visit with pilgrims is also focusing religious explanations.
In order to support those ideas - that were perceived from the direct observation and the result of 15
years as a tourist guide - interviews were made to the different groups of tourist that visited Nazaré,
Alcobaça and Batalha. In addiction, were used some statistics of the numbers of visitors to those
places and statistics of some of the biggest Portuguese travel agencies of incoming pilgrims.
Usually, the visit of these three places – Alcobaça, Nazaré and Batalha – by non religious groups is
made in the way from Lisbon to Coimbra, or a Full Day excursion departing and returning to Lisbon.
People depart from Lisbon, visit Óbidos – which is a medieval village -, visit the Abbey of Alcobaça,
go to Nazaré to have lunch and with some free time (not always visiting the “Sítio” – the place where
the miracle occurred and where the Shrine was constructed), continuing to visit Batalha Monastery
and going to Coimbra (to sleep there) or Fátima (for a small visit) and return to Lisbon.
The visit of these same three places by religious groups is completely different: departing from
Fátima and returning to Fátima, where the group stays for a minimum of 3 nights. In this case, groups
visit those places with a different itinerary: departing from Fátima, they visit firstly the Monastery of
Batalha, then, the Abbey of Alcobaça and then they proceed to Nazaré, where the aim is to visit the
Shrine of Our Lady of Nazaré. The reason why the pilgrims leave Fátima to visit those three places –
Nazaré, Alcobaça and Batalha - is because it is explained to the group that these three places are
born due to some kind of divine help to the Portuguese. Once inside the churches, the pilgrims like to
have some moments to pray (and, in some cases, to sing some religious music from their parishes),
and the touristic visit inside those churches became a completely different experience!
As we can see, there are many differences in guiding the two different kinds of groups, in terms of
itinerary, type of visit, information given by the guide to the group and the behaviour of the groups
inside religious buildings.