On the topic of organizing religious tourism it should be mentioned that it is a special activity related to the provision of services and the satisfaction of the needs of tourists who travel to sacred religious centers outside their usual environment.
Some tourists prefer to travel for religious purposes and in some cases leave the country for a long period of time, for example, at least six months to visit holy places as well as religious centers. Religious tourism has become particularly popular today, when tourists have many opportunities to travel to other countries as well, especially in Europe.
Target audience for faith based tours
Religious tourism is a promising and quite fascinating sphere of tourism, since it allows to make trips to different places, visiting the oldest monuments that are important not only for religion, but also for the development of art, culture, related to any historical event. In addition, the given orientation of the rest attracts not only believers, but also those who want to learn more about the architecture of temples, churches, various religious constructions, to know their interior decoration and their specific environment. Thus culture and religion overlap in this aspect.
Some people go on religious journeys to purify their souls, as well as to find inner peace and balance. Thus, the pilgrimage was practiced even before the birth of Christ, and now it is also practiced by various categories of tourists. It is very important to know who the target audience is for these faith based tours as it can help plan them better.
Types of faith based tours to prepare
In this way, the following types of religious tourism are distinguished:
Pilgrimage – It represents the desire of believers to worship holy places. Pilgrims have a variety of purposes, such as the desire to pray to God and be closer to him, to find grace, to carry out God’s work, atone for sins, to express gratitude for a good event, etc. The pilgrims, contrary to the opinion of some people, are not religious fanatics, but dedicated and learned people.
Because pilgrims travel long distances, they need to possess the quality of intelligence to communicate with strangers, as well as the ability to count on their strength. Modern pilgrims use the many comforts of civilization to make their travels. Now, this requires a certain amount of money, as well as documents that allow them to reach a certain country, but is a non-issue for European tours.
Religious and cultural tourism – Travel in the religious tourism format involves not only the worship of church relics, buildings, structures, or other objects, but also a general knowledge of the culture and religion of a particular place, which is also of educational interest. Tourists in this direction do not seek to achieve any enlightenment, forgive their sins, they just want to travel and see new corners of our world. For these types of tours it’s great to mix in general local culture elements to keep the audience hooked.
Learning from the history of the religious tourism industry
Religious tourism as a destination has existed since ancient times. However, religious tourists used to travel independently, without the help of any tourist organization. Their goal was to visit temples, cathedrals, monasteries and places of preservation of sacred relics.
The first mention of religious tourism dates back to ancient times, when the ancient Greeks visited Delphi. Pilgrimage tourism is mentioned later in the Middle Ages, when the Crusades gained special importance. In particular, under religious guidance the military operations against a particular state were hidden, so that religious travel at that time has acquired a special political significance.
In the second half of the 19th century, religious tourism began to acquire an organized character. For example, in France there were annual trips to atone for sins.
Characteristics of religious tours to help with organizing
To date, religious visits are the most common. However, when organizing religious visits it is necessary to take into account several aspects:
The address of the tour. The direction of the visit is determined based on the faith that the tourist has or the specific place that he must visit. Therefore, tour operators and travel agents must be well oriented in the available directions and be able to offer the tourist the right product.
The tour route. The tourist’s itinerary must be configured in such a way that the religious feelings of the tourist are not hurt, so that visits to places that may be unpleasant for the tourist are excluded.
Means of transportation. In many countries, the movement through the holy places is carried out by various types of land transport, most of the time by bus, since it allows not only to know the religious monuments, but also to see the daily life and way of life of the people who live there, in addition to knowing the natural attractions.
Designation of tour rules. Religious tourism, like no other, requires strict regulations. People can even carelessly offend the feelings of believers, so it is necessary to know the rules of conduct not only in the temple, but also in other holy places. Otherwise, the consequences can be deplorable, up to imprisonment, especially abroad. To avoid problems for tourists, it is necessary to explain the rules of conduct in a certain place. In addition, it is necessary to stipulate the way of dressing, for example, there are places where it is necessary to put a scarf on the head, it is forbidden to expose certain parts of the body, etc. It is necessary to remember that they have little free time, and it cannot be spent in constant discussions with travelers.
Keep in mind that you can always seek out the help of a professional tour operator for faith based tours in Europe that can help with the journey. When going on a religious tour, tourists should also remember that religious tourism is not a means of entertainment and fun. It is above all an opportunity to change the vision of the world, to learn new things, and to let go of negative emotions and experiences.