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Religious Pilgrimage Routes and Trails: Sustainable Development and Management

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For millennia people have travelled to religious sites for worship, initiatory and leisure purposes. Today there are hundreds, if not thousands, of religious pilgrimage routes and trails around the world that are used by pilgrims as well as tourists. Indeed, many religious pilgrimage routes and trails are today used as themes by tourism marketers in an effort to promote regional economic development. An important resource for those interested in religious tourism and pilgrimage, this book is also an invaluable collection for academics and policy-makers within heritage tourism and regional development.

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1 Pilgrimage Trails and Routes: The Journey from the Past to the Present



Pilgrimage Trails and Routes:

The Journey from the Past to the Present

Daniel H. Olsen,1* Anna Trono2 and Paul R. Fidgeon3



Brigham Young University, Utah, USA; 2University of Salento, Lecce, Italy;

University of West London, London, UK

Religion, Pilgrimage and Tourism

Tourism is one of the largest export industries in the world. The United Nations World Tourism

­Organization (UNWTO, 2016) estimates that in

2015, there were approximately 1.186 billion international tourist arrivals, garnering US$1.260 trillion in earned tourism receipts. In 2016, international tourist arrivals jumped to 1.235 billion international tourist arrivals, an increase of 3.9% from 2015. This marked the seventh consecutive year that international tourist arrivals had increased since the 2008/09 global economic crisis (UNWTO, 2017). At the end of 2015, tourism accounted for 7% of all exports in goods and services, behind fuels and chemicals (UNWTO, 2016). The increase in the number of international tourists, as well as domestic tourists


2 Religious Pilgrimage Routes and Trails as Driving Forces for Sustainable Local Development



Religious Pilgrimage Routes and Trails as Driving Forces for

Sustainable Local Development

Anna Trono* and Valentina Castronuovo†

University of Salento, Lecce, Italy


Holy places have long been the goal of religious and spiritual journeys. With the evolution of religious tourism as a specialized niche market, governments have begun to understand not just their cultural value, but also their economic potential. Thus, steps have been taken to ensure their conservation and to include them in large-­ scale tourism itineraries. Religious tourism now makes a substantial contribution to the world economy, with an annual turnover of billions of dollars (Štefkoa et al., 2014). This has stirred the interest of many scholars, who have begun to analyse the economic impact of this niche market in terms of its size and the role it plays in the regeneration and development of tourism in devotional sites (McKevitt, 1991; Vukonić, 2002;

Briedenhann and Wickens, 2004; Olsen and


3 Cultural Routes: Tourist Destinations and Tools for Development



Cultural Routes: Tourist

Destinations and Tools for Development

Dallen J. Timothy*

Arizona State University, USA


For thousands of years, human behaviours have resulted in countless cultural impressions on the earth. One such imprint is the modern and intricate global network of linear transportation corridors, recreation trails and cultural routes. Many of these networks originated as trading trails, hunting paths and migration routes that, through time and with constant use, became established corridors for everyday trade and long-distance travel.

From a geographical perspective, most research on the supply side of tourism focuses on regions, destinations and specific attractions

(Leiper, 1990; McKercher, 2016). Wall (1997), however, argued for more attention to linear tourism spaces, such as those noted above, that may or may not be comprised of multiple nodes or sites linked by rectilinear courses, itineraries, trails or other passageways. These linear spatial configurations are different from other types of attractions or systems of attractions; they link individual sites into a more holistic system that can be managed and interpreted, marketed and sold to tourists (Timothy, 2014).


4 The Role of Heritage Tourism in the Management and Promotion of Pilgrimage Trails and Routes



The Role of Heritage Tourism in the Management and

Promotion of Pilgrimage Trails and Routes

Stephen W. Boyd*

Ulster University, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK


A cursory glance at the title of this chapter would suggest there is a clear and positive association between heritage tourism and the promotion and management of pilgrimage space. Few would question that heritage tourism is recognized as one of the oldest forms of tourism where the past is consumed and reflected in contemporary culture. Pilgrimage movements, being one of the earliest forms of that travel, have emerged today as having significance in many people’s lives over hedonistic and special interest forms of travel

(Olsen and Timothy, 2006; Jackowski and Smith,

1992). People engage in a pilgrimage for many reasons that go beyond the traditional motives of religion and spirituality. While secular pilgrimages to non-sacred locations have increased in recent years, they still take on some of the themes of the seeking after something, following someone, and being drawn to specific places. This chapter does not seek to address the nature of these pilgrimages as such, but rather the role that set routes and trails facilitate.


5 Environment and Sustainability as Related to Religious Pilgrimage Routes and Trails



Environment and Sustainability as Related to Religious

Pilgrimage Routes and Trails

Gabriella Trombino1* and Anna Trono2


University of Trento, Trento, Italy; 2University of Salento, Lecce, Italy


The recent rise in the popularity of religious tourism clearly represents an opportunity for regional development, thanks to the economic dynamics that it sets in motion, but it also poses a threat to the host community in terms of the weakening of its identity and environmental pressure, which puts the fragile environments generally visited by pilgrims/tourists at risk.

Religious tourism, and consequently the tourism flows associated with them, constitute an anthropogenic driver with respect to the qualitative state of natural ecosystems. Quantification of the impacts of this driver entails looking at human activities, but there is a lack of clear and well-defined indicators that can characterize and quantify the pressures exerted by religious tourism. While there exists an extensive literature on assessment of the environmental impact of tourism (e.g. Hall and Lew, 1998; Murphy,


6 The European Cultural Route of Saint Martin of Tours



The European Cultural Route of Saint Martin of Tours

Raffaella Afferni* and Carla Ferrario

University of Eastern Piedmont, Vercelli, Italy


Pilgrimage is an important aspect of the world’s major religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam,

Judaism and Christianity), and one of the most common religious and cultural phenomena of human society (Collins-Kreiner, 2010).1 In Europe, experiences tied to sacred sites were important in classical times, but it was in the Middle Ages that they reached their apogee. The Church encouraged people to make pilgrimages to holy places and shrines, promising that if they prayed at these shrines they might be absolved of their sins and have a better chance of going to heaven.

This religious practice fell into decline during the Reformation, as was perhaps inevitable, due to the superstitions and abuses associated with it. In recent times, the practice of pilgrimage has taken on increasing importance

(Cohen, 1992), and the Via Francigena, Camino de Santiago, Saint Martin of Tours Route and other itineraries have become channels of communication contributing to the recovery of the cultural unity that characterized Europe in the Middle Ages (Dallari et al., 2006). In recent centuries, routes to sacred sites have declined in importance due to advanced processes of secularization that have remodelled lifestyle patterns, visions and perspectives. However,


7 The Camino de Santiago de Compostela: The Most Important Historic Pilgrimage Way in Europe



The Camino de Santiago de Compostela: The Most

Important Historic Pilgrimage

Way in Europe

Rubén C. Lois-González,* Xosé M. Santos and Pilar Taboada-de-Zúñiga Romero

University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain


The Camino de Santiago has achieved great

­significance in recent years. In international academic literature, there are abundant bibliographies that analyse this phenomenon from different disciplinary perspectives (Graham and Murray,

1997; Murray and Graham, 1997; Frey, 1998;

Slavin, 2003; Tilson, 2005; Pack, 2008, 2010;

Murray, 2014; Lois-González and Santos, 2015;

Nilsson and Tesfahuney, 2016; Sánchez y Sánchez and Hesp, 2016). Among the most plentiful are those referring to tourism, relating it, for example, to the resurgence of pilgrimages and their new motivations. In addition, the Camino de Santiago has served as a stimulus for the recovery and creation of old and new pilgrimage routes.


8 The Holy Grail Route: Mystic Routes and Activities to Improve Local Tourism



The Holy Grail Route:

Mystic Routes and Activities to Improve Local Tourism

Paul R. Fidgeon*

University of West London, London, UK


In Christian tradition, the Holy Grail was the cup Jesus used at the last supper. According to

Arthurian myth and legend, this cup was used to collect Jesus’s blood during his crucifixion, and was thought to have the power to heal all wounds and grant immortality. Belief in the

Holy Grail and interest in its existence and potential whereabouts has never ceased. Indeed, there are numerous myths and legends surrounding the Grail in terms of its origins, its present location, and is association with various groups, such as the Knights Templar and the

­Cistercian monks (Martin, 2004; Jenkins, 2009).

There are also several vessels housed in various churches and cathedrals throughout Europe, each of which, their owners claim, are the original Holy Grail.

While there has long been scholarly debate regarding the origins of the Grail and the development of its legend (e.g. Loomis, 1991; Barber,


9 Religious Pilgrimage Routes in the Baltic Countries: History and Perspectives



Religious Pilgrimage Routes in the Baltic Countries: History and Perspectives

Darius Liutikas*

Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania


The Baltic countries are located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, with an area of 175,015 km2 and more than 6.2 million inhabitants in

2015 (2.9 million in Lithuania, almost 2 million in Latvia and 1.31 million in Estonia). The Baltic countries have similar histories over the past century, such as independence between the

World Wars, Soviet occupation, and restoration of independence after the collapse of the Soviet empire. However, the Baltic countries differ regarding their religious traditions. For example, almost 80% of Lithuanians identify as Roman

Catholics, as opposed to 25% of Latvians and less than 1% of Estonians. In Latvia, the predominant religious groups include Lutherans (onethird of the population), and Eastern Orthodox

(about 20%), whereas in Estonia more than half of the population identify as non-religious, with the predominant religious confessions being


10 Experiencing Religious Pilgrimage in Malta



Experiencing Religious

Pilgrimage in Malta

Vincent Zammit*

Independent Researcher, Malta


The island of Malta, located in the middle of the

Mediterranean Sea and the largest of the three islands that make up the Maltese archipelago, has a very rich religious history. Since having set foot on the island, humans have built religious buildings for a number of purposes, including worship and ritual ceremonies. For example, prehistoric peoples on Malta built megalithic temples during the Neolithic era, many of which are considered some of the oldest freestanding buildings in the world. These temples were used for fertility rites, and today are frequented by

New Age, Pagan and Goddess pilgrims who believe that ‘the peaceful and matrifocal people of ancient Malta left us their temples and symbolic language’ (Rountree, 2012, p. 22; see also Irving,

1997; Rountree, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2014,

2015). These prehistoric temples, as well as the


11 Pilgrimage Routes from Central Europe and Scandinavia towards Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela



Pilgrimage Routes from Central

Europe and Scandinavia towards Jerusalem and

Santiago de Compostela

Tomasz Duda*

University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland


Religious tourism is one of the fastest-growing tourism niche markets in the world. Regardless of latitude, religion, traditions and cultural conditions, pilgrimage to holy places is one of the most important religious acts, undertaken to worship or to do penance. Over the centuries, several major pilgrimage centres have developed, with pilgrims beating a trail to them from the farthest corners of the world. In the Christian world, the main destinations were Jerusalem, Rome and

Santiago de Compostela. Shrines associated with

Marian apparitions like Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje, La Salette and Częstochowa (unique in that it is not related to apparitions) emerged at a slightly later stage. These destinations eventually accounted for most migration of a religious nature on the old continent.


12 The Ways to Jerusalem: Maritime, Cultural and Pilgrimage Routes



The Ways to Jerusalem:

Maritime, Cultural and

Pilgrimage Routes

Anna Trono* and Marco Leo Imperiale#

University of Salento, Lecce, Italy


Cultural tourism is growing because of the increased interest in archaeological heritage,

­ museums, events and regional characteristics.

Promotion of cultural attractions is increasingly oriented towards representing the significant moments of a visit to a region and the cognitive and emotional enrichment of the visitor, who is the target of tourism services based on authenticity, creativity and adventure. This demand is met especially by ‘authentic’ and ‘adventurous’ cultural itineraries that enable profound and original experiences, which are even more appealing if they are superimposed on ancient routes, such as those travelled by warriors, merchants and pilgrims. These historic routes give meaning to the journey, especially among young people.

Unlike the past, the journey is not motivated by a desire to wander or a search for risk, heroism or a


13 Palkhi: A Moving Sacred Town



Palkhi: A Moving Sacred Town

Kiran A. Shinde*

University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


The Hindi term ‘palkhi’ (pālkı̄) simply means

‘palanquin’ or ‘chariot’. This term is most commonly used in a religious context in Maharashtra, a state in the Western part of India, where pilgrims and devotees carry replicas of the feet of a saint in a palanquin, or a covered sedan chair carried by four to six bearers. This devotional practice is rooted in the bhakti movement, a theistic ­devotional movement stemming from medieval Hinduism (Lele, 1981; Hawley, 2009), follows the journey that a particular saint took in travelling to worship a deity. Over the centuries, the colloquial meaning of ‘palkhi’ has become synonymous with the pilgrimage movements of two saints: the Dnyaneshwar palkhi that originates from the town of Alandi, and the Tukaram palkhi that ­originates from Dehu. Both palkhi culminate at P

­ andharpur and the Vitthal temple, which is home to the deity Vithoba, considered a manifestation of the god Vishnu or his avatar, Krishna. Both of these palkhi or processions take place between July and August


14 Kashi and Cosmos, India: The Pilgrimage Circuit of the Panchakroshi Yatra



Kashi and Cosmos, India:

The Pilgrimage Circuit of the Panchakroshi Yatra

Rana P.B. Singh* and Pravin S. Rana

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India


When did pilgrimage begin? Probably when people became people and thus began to think, to remember, to want a deeper experience of perceived reality.

(Clift and Clift, 1996, p. 22)

According to the Mahabharata (13.111.18), a fifth-century bce Sanskrit epic, pilgrimage places are auspicious because of the extraordinary power of their earth, the efficacy of their water, and because they were frequented by the ancient sages (see Bhardwaj, 1973, pp. 29–42). Such characteristics regarding sacred space are still invoked by contemporary Hindus. By journeying to these places via a sacred route, pilgrims obtain its ‘fruit’ (phala), which transforms their life, gives inner satisfaction, and leads to purification and peace.

By the combined process of sacralization, ritualization and deeper interconnectedness, places become sacredscapes (puranas), where sacred ecology and sacred human-defined space interacts to form a bond between ‘cosmic and earthly forces’ (Zoeteman, 1991, p. 259; cf. Singh,


15 Pilgrimage to Mount Bromo, Indonesia



Pilgrimage to Mount Bromo,


Jaeyeon Choe1* and Michael Hitchcock2

Bournemouth University, UK; 2Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK



For millennia, people have travelled to religious sites and events around the world. Religious tourism, where people travel for either religious motivations or to gaze at and learn about religious cultures and built environments, attracts thousands of visitors a year to religious sites and religiously themed festivals (Vukonić, 1996;

Timothy and Olsen, 2006). The intersections between religion, spirituality and tourism, at

­ least in the past couple of decades, have been an area of interest among tourism and religious studies scholars (e.g. Badone and Roseman, 2004;

Timothy and Olsen, 2006; Stausberg, 2011;


Norman, 2011; Olsen, 2015). However, there seems to be a regionality in terms of the geographical focus of these scholars. While initial research on religion and tourism focused on pilgrimage tourism journeys in European or other


16 The Shikoku Pilgrimage: Popularity and the Pilgrim’s Transaction



The Shikoku Pilgrimage:

Popularity and the Pilgrim’s


Greg Wilkinson*

Brigham Young University, Utah, USA

Pilgrimage is as concerned with taking back some part of the charisma of a holy place as it is about actually going to the place. (Coleman and

Elsner, 1995, p. 100)

Today religion is more threatened than ever, yet sacred journeys are more popular than ever.

(Feiler, 2014)


In 2014, Bruce Feiler started each episode of his

PBS series, Sacred Journeys, with the above quote.

If the validity of Feiler’s assertion is assumed, the question of why this might be arises. In his series,

Feiler travels to several of the world’s most well-­visited religious sites, including Jerusalem,

Lourdes, Mecca and the Ganges River. While each of these locations is a popular pilgrimage location, with millions of people visiting these sacred sites every year, Feiler noted that each location has been affected by secularism and religious strife in different ways. For example, some visitors have reported a decline in participation at Lourdes since its 150th anniversary in 2008 (Caprino,


17 Challenges Facing the Sustainable Development of Slave Trade Routes and Trails in Cameroon



Challenges Facing the

Sustainable Development of Slave Trade Routes and

Trails in Cameroon

Vreny Enongene* and Kevin Griffin

Dublin Institute of Technology, Republic of Ireland


This chapter is a little unusual as it does not focus on a conventional pilgrimage trail or route, but instead, explores an emerging ‘product’ which has deep significance for the African American diaspora whose ancestors were enslaved and taken from Cameroon and surrounding areas, and shipped to the Americas and elsewhere. For these returnees, visiting the sites such as Bimbia port, where their ancestors were held captive is a deeply spiritual experience. Opportunities for restoring and benefiting economically from the extant slave-related heritage are great; however, the infrastructure for such tourism is still poorly developed.

The transatlantic slave trade, that saw the forceful movement of Africans from their homes at the hands of European slave traders, dates as far back as the early 17th century. While Sierra


18 The Talpa de Allende Pilgrimage Trail



The Talpa de Allende

Pilgrimage Trail

Daniel H. Olsen1* and Rodrigo Espinoza Sánchez2

Brigham Young University, Utah, USA; 2Universidad de

Guadalajara, Centro Universitario de la Costa, Campus

Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Mexico



For centuries, the people of Mexico have t­ ravelled long distances to visit sites of religious and spiritual significance for a wide range of reasons, including worship and participation in i­ nitiatory or cleansing rituals, the fulfilment of vows, and curiosity (Morinis, 1992). Pilgrimage in Mexico extends back to the Mayan civilization, as attested through numerous archeological studies and sites (e.g. McCafferty, 1996; Glover et al., 2011;

Patel, 2012). Indeed, cultural and archaeological tourism to Mexico is an important niche market mixing religious tourism with indigenous tourism, particularly as it relates to New Age spirituality (van den Berghe, 1995; Castaneda,

1996; Carlson, 1999; Juárez, 2002; Medina,


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