Tourism and Religion: Issues and Implications

Edited by: Richard Butler, Wantanee Suntikul

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This book examines both specific issues and more general problems stemming from the interaction of religion, travel and tourism with hospitality and culture, as well as the implications for site management and interpretation. It explores the oldest form of religious tourism – pilgrimage – from its original form to the multiple spiritual and secular variations practised today, along with issues and conflicts arising from the collision of religion, politics and tourism. The volume considers the impact of tourism and tourist numbers on religious features, communities and phenomena, including the deliberate involvement of some religious agencies in tourism. It also addresses the ways in which religious beliefs and philosophies affect the behaviour and perceptions of tourists as well as hosts. The book illustrates how different faiths interact with tourism and the issues of catering for religious tourists of the major faiths, as well as managing the interaction between increasing numbers of secular tourists and pilgrims at religious sites.

This book reveals uncharted controversies and conflicts and moves beyond traditional academic approaches of 'religious tourism'. It brilliantly explores political issues, fundamentalism, commercialization and sustainability using a tourism rather than religious lens. Butler and Suntikul do a wonderful job linking complex issues and exploring sacred sites, religious conflicts, tourism development and marketing through holistic and wider sustainability interpretation.

Rachel Dodds, Ryerson University, Canada

There is a serious lack of understanding of the interconnectedness, operational and management issues of religious tourism. This book provides outstanding clarity on the conceptual aspects of religious tourism while debating the nexus and complications of politics, nationalism, emotion, obligation, belief and management challenges. This comprehensive volume will be a must-read for tourism and hospitality researchers.

Maharaj Vijay Reddy, University of West London, UK

A welcome addition to existing works on religion and tourism. The editors have weaved a tourism-centric narrative around issues and conflicts arising between religion and tourism, as well as examining the rise of secular tourism within religious spaces. Essential reading for those interested in tourism, religion and their interconnections.

Stephen Boyd, Ulster University, UK

This comprehensive book is indispensable for anyone interested in a practical, yet substantial, in-depth look at religious tourism. Presenting topics, which are at the forefront of this intriguing sector of tourism, the individual authors also blaze the trail for further discussion and debate. 

Annals of Leisure Research, 2019

(This) book provides a comprehensive insight into the religion–tourism relationship in the present context, so the readers can see how tourism and religion interact from the past and present perspectives (...) It is a must-read for academics, practitioners and those who are interested in tourism, religion, religion tourism, the futures and relevant issues.

Journal of Tourism Futures Vol 4 No 3

Butler and Suntikul provide a timely edited volume addressing the nexus of tourism, culture, heritage, and religion. Across the 19 chapters, the editors have lined up some of the most well-known and respected researchers on the topic...Libraries with collections focused on culture, religion, tourism, and anthropology should have a copy of this work.

CHOICE connect, July 2018

Contributors to Tourism and Religion raise soul-searching questions about the necessity for different and complementary foci on tourism and religion. Consequently, the result is a clear and invaluable comparative overview of evident problems and potentialities at sacred and secular sites. The detailed and exhaustive treatment in the case studies presented highlight good practices that can be applied to other similar contexts.

Tourism Geographies, 2019

Richard Butler is Emeritus Professor of Tourism, University of Strathclyde, Scotland and Visiting Professor, NHTV University, The Netherlands. His research interests include tourism destination development, tourism in remote and insular areas, resilience and sustainability in tourism and tourism and politics.

Wantanee Suntikul is Assistant Professor at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. Her research interests include heritage and tourism, politics and tourism, gastrodiplomacy and tourism and religion and tourism.

List of Contributors

List of Tables                                                                         

List of Figures



1. Wantanee Suntikul and Richard Butler: Tourism and Religion; Origins, Interactions and Issues

Faiths and Tourism

2. John King: Indigenous Tourism: The Most Ancient of Journeys

3. Kevin O'Gorman: Origins of Hospitality in Monastic and Christian Orders

4. Razaq Raj and Kristel Kessler: Inspiration for Muslims to Visit Mosques

5. Noga Collins and Nimrod Luz: Judaism and Tourism over the Ages: The Impacts of Technology, Geopolitics and the Changing Political Landscape

6. Yuji Nakanishi: Shintoism and Travel in Japan

7. Pushkar Kanvinde and Binumol Tom: Hinduism and Tourism

8. Cora Wong: The Monks and Nuns of Pu-Tuo as Custodians of their Sacred Buddhist Site

Issues and Problems

9. Matina Terzidou, Caroline Scarles and Mark Saunders: The Vow and Tourist Travel

10. Noga Collins-Kreiner and Deborah Shmueli: Politics, Tourism, Religion, and Conflicts: A Suggested Framing Framework

11. Rami K. Isaac: Religious Tourism in Palestine: Challenges and Opportunities

12. David Mercer: Marketing Myanmar: The Religion/Tourism Nexus in a Fragile Polity

13. Elina Ostrometskaia and Kevin Griffin: Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage in Russia

Secular Tourism in Sacred Places

14. Silvia Aulet Serralonga: Spiritual Tourism in Europe, the SPIRIT-Youth Project

15. Dallen J. Timothy and Daniel H. Olsen: Religious Routes, Pilgrim Trails: Spiritual Pathways as Tourism Resources

16. Simon Curtis: Reaching Out – Engagement through Events and Festivals – the Cathedrals of England

17. Daniel H. Olsen and Dallen J. Timothy: Tourism, Salt Lake City, and the Cultural Heritage of Mormonism

18. Amos S. Ron: Religious needs in the tourism industry: the perspective of Abrahamic tradition


19. Richard Butler and Wantanee Suntikul: Tourism and Religion: Themes, Issues and Conclusions

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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