Religious tourism, also commonly referred to as faith tourism, is a type of tourism, where people travel individually or in groups for pilgrimage, missionary, or leisure (fellowship) purposes. The world’s largest form of mass religious tourism takes place at the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. North American religious tourists comprise an estimated $10 billion of the industry.[1]
Modern religious tourists are more able to visit holy cities and holy sites around the world. The most famous holy cities are Mecca, Madinah, Karbala, Jerusalem and Varanasi. The most famous holy sites are the Kaaba, Rauza of Imam Husain at Karbala, Church of the Nativity, The Western Wall and the Brahma Temple at Pushkar. Religious tourism has existed since antiquity. A study in 2011 found that 2.5 million people visited Karbala on the day of Arbaeen in 2013, pilgrims visited Jerusalem for a few reasons: to understand and appreciate their religion through a tangible experience, to feel secure about their religious beliefs, and to connect personally to the holy city
Cultural tourism (or culture tourism) is the subset of tourism concerned with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life. Cultural tourism includes tourism in urban areas, particularly historic or large cities and their cultural facilities such as museums and theatres. It can also include tourism in rural areas showcasing the traditions of indigenous cultural communities (i.e. festivals, rituals), and their values and lifestyle, as well as niches like industrial tourism and creative tourism. It is generally agreed that cultural tourists spend substantially more than standard tourists do. This form of tourism is also becoming generally more popular throughout the world, and a recent OECD report has highlighted the role that cultural tourism can play in regional development in different world regions.[3]
Cultural tourism has been defined as ‘the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs’. These cultural needs can include the solidification of one’s own cultural identity, by observing the exotic “other”.
Cultural tourism has a long history, and with its roots in the Grand Tour is arguably the original form of tourism. It is also one of the forms of tourism that most policy makers seem to be betting on for the future. The World Tourism Organisation, for example, asserted that cultural tourism accounted for 37% of global tourism, and forecast that it would grow at a rate of 15% per year. Such figures are often quoted in studies of the cultural tourism market (e.g. Bywater, 1993), but are rarely backed up with empirical research.
There exist numerous differences between religious and cultural tourism and some of them can be outline below;

1. Religious tourism, also commonly referred to as faith tourism, is a type of tourism, where people travel individually or in groups for pilgrimage, missionary, or leisure (fellowship) purposes Cultural tourism has been defined as ‘the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs’
2. The idea of the religious pilgrimage begins almost with the dawn of humanity. The idea of the cultural ethics begins almost with the dawn of civilization.
3. Religious tourism is not only a visitation to a particular holy destination, but may also be travel for a humanitarian cause, for reasons of friendship or even as a form of leisure. Religious tourism is purely a form of visits to cultural sites and civilization

The emergence of cultural tourism and Religious tourism in research practice as an object of study dates back to the beginning of the XX century, but only in 2002 the International Council for cultural and historical monuments publish a formal definition as follows: “The cultural and cultural-cognitive tourism actually is this form of tourism, which focuses on the cultural environment, which in turn may include cultural and historical sights of a destination or cultural-historical heritage, values and lifestyle of the local population, arts, crafts, traditions and customs of the local population. Furthermore, cultural and cognitive routes may include a visit or participation in cultural activities and events, visit museums, concerts, exhibitions, galleries, etc. (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
The key category in that definition is the concept of “cultural heritage” which includes intangible and tangible movable and immovable heritage as “A set of cultural values that are carriers of historical memory, national identity and have scientific or cultural value” (Cultural Heritage Act, Art. 2, para. 1).
From the perspective of the development of religious and cultural tourism, the meaningful coverage of the concept of cultural heritage determines the application of an integrated approach – except traditional archaeological and historical monuments include the architecture, art and ethnographic heritage, museum infrastructure and cultural landscape and the acquiring in recent times particular importance religious heritage – Christian churches and temples of other religions. Cultural tourism includes besides all the visiting of historical sites and sightseeing, providing the opportunity for enjoyment of past human achievements. As part of domestic tourism, visiting such places is an object of admiration, national pride and rediscovering the achievements of our ancestors.
Both are instrument for economic development that achieves economic growth by attracting visitors outside the community-host who are motivated generally or partially by an interest in the historical, artistic, scientific or related to lifestyle and traditions reality and facts of a community, region, group or institution. Such a travel is focused on the feeling of the cultural environment, including landscapes, visual and performing arts, lifestyles, values, traditions and events. Tourism is looking for ways to create “marketable tourism products” as well as environment for work and life. Cultural-cognitive tourism is an interaction between cultural, ethnic and historical components of the society or of the place to be used as resources to attract tourists and tourism development.

• Dallen J. Timothy and Daniel H. Olsen, Tourism, religion and spiritual journeys, Routledge, 2006
• Razaq Raj and Nigel D. Morpeth, Religious tourism and pilgrimage festivals management : an international perspective, CABI, 2007

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