Is Spiritual Tourism a Peace Vehicle for Social Transformation and Economic Prosperity in India and Pakistan?

Is Spiritual Tourism a Peace Vehicle for Social Transformation and Economic Prosperity in India and Pakistan?

Farooq Haq (Canadian University Dubai, UAE) and Anita Medhekar (Central Queensland University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7464-4.ch010


In the 21st century, there is an utmost need for peace, economic progress, and prosperity around the world, especially since the September 11 tragedy, the two Gulf wars, Arab Spring, and the fear of terrorism in the name of religion spread across the globe. Countries have to learn from past mistakes and avoid conflicts and war, which impact common people, destroy lives and ancient heritage, spiritual sites, and civilizations. Spiritual tourism development and education can be used as a vehicle to campaign and market peace between nations, cultures, and people from diverse racial and spiritual orientations. Countries with populations belonging to various religious minorities in particular should include spiritual tourism education at school and university to promote peace and unity in diversity.
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India and Pakistan represent the land that is made up of people following many religions. As far as historical records are available, people following Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Judaism, Bahaism and Zoroastrians have been living peacefully together. All appreciated and adopted many of the foreign religious traditions, significantly Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. The two countries are blessed with built spiritual monuments, places of worships and gardens linked to the major religious and spiritual beliefs hence presenting the world with some of the best religious centres in the world (Chakraborty, 2011; Medhekar & Haq, 2009; Shinde, 2007; Gladstone, 2005). Domestic spiritual tourism has matured in India and Pakistan (Haq & Medhekar, 2017; Phukan, Rahman & Devdutt, 2012). However, what is required is to market spiritual tourism within and cross-border between the two countries as a vehicle for peace and social transformation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Peace Tourism: Visiting built places of worship, natural environment, and organized conferences, seminars, and gatherings with an objective to promote peace, thus resulting in peace tourism.

Social Transformation: To bring about a positive social change/ transformation in values of the politicians and population. This is possible through the instrument of spiritual tourism with the commitment for cultivating, promoting and practicing universal peace, non-violence, basic human rights, and forgiveness in everyday interactions between people, businesses, and governments.

Spiritual Tourism: Spiritual tourism is defined as an act of travelling domestically or overseas to visit spiritual places such as (1) mosques, churches, and temples and (2) natural environments such as forests, oceans, lake, spiritual gardens, wildlife parks for birds and animals, botanical gardens, caves, and rocks for spiritual reasons to fulfil the need for being grateful to almighty, forgiveness, and inner peace.

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