WHAT IS THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN TOURISM?
The idea and practice of religion is something which historically and essentially has always been part of man. While religions differ and express many similarities across the centuries there has always been and continues to be relevance for it in the hearts of men. For our purposes of travel discussion, there will be no talk of doctrine and dogma here. Rather today’s blog topic seeks as always to discuss the forms and facets travel takes in our lives, in our countries and in our world. Since religion is an element which is arguably predominantly prevalent in man, it makes sense to examine it as a crucial part of who we are. It is not presumptuous to believe that it can impact our travel decisions and it is at least interesting to discern how it has influenced and been influenced by travel and tourism. One theme which arises from a general perspective of comparative religions and psychology is the idea that religion is often centered on a journey. Depending on the particular orientation and goal of the religion this journey can be expressed in the development of a lifetime, the yearning towards an afterlife, a physical pilgrimage or a day to day mastery of oneself. The general concept of journey in religion is that we find ourselves in one place and we want to be in another. Sound familiar? This is the same basic inertia that drives our travel instincts. The fundamental idea in both religion and travel on this topic is to leave behind daily life, everyday existence and step onto a path that will change our perspective and bring change to who we are and give life to who we are becoming. Some might call this escapism, but it does not need to be so. Any real travel will always include a return to home, daily life and our responsibilities. The journey is worthwhile in as much as it can change us, make us grow and fill us with renewed confidence and perspective. This is the commonality between religion and travel at a very...
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