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Motivations of Religious Tourists

The main motivation for religious travels is to meet spiritual and religious needs. Research (Cohen 1992; Digance 2003; Smith 1992; Tomasi 2002; Collins-Kreiner and Kliot 2000; Triantafillidou et al. 2010; "prca et al. 2010; Kamenidou and Vourou 2015) shows that pilgrims undertake journeys to sacred sites in order to touch the sacred, to gain religious merit or penitence for their sins, to seek healing from illness or resolution of their worldly problems, to feel close to God and Jesus Christ, to worship, to make vows, to seek experience in a holy atmosphere, to feel peaceful, to pray for various needs, and so on. However, motivation for travel may also include cultural exploration of other ethnic or religious groups. Sharpley and Sundaram (2005) find that besides spiritual experience, historical and cultural or educational reasons are motives for visiting religious sites. Egresi et al. (2012a) point out that religious sites are often visited for their historical and cultural values, rather than for their sacred and spiritual values.

Collins-Kreiner and Kliot (2000) find that pilgrims visiting the Holy Land of Israel are also interested in visiting holy places of other religions, as well as archeological excavations. With respect to the tourism industry, pilgrims are generally accepted as tourists because pilgrims often have the same needs as tourists in general and visit tourist-frequented locations, such as museums, cafes, and shops, in addition to religious sites (Abbate and Di Nuovo 2013).

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