Religious Tourism: Sanctuary Cities as the Primary Destinations

Religious Tourism: Sanctuary Cities as the Primary Destinations

Luciana Aparecida Barbieri da Rosa (Universidade Federal de Santa Mari, Brazil), Maria Carolina Martins Rodrigues (CinTurs, Portugal), Waleska Yone Yamakawa Zavatti Campos (IAG Business School, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Maria José Sousa (ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal), Martius Vicente Rodriguez y Rodriguez (Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil) and Larissa Cristina Barbieri (Faculdade de Educação São Luis, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5792-1.ch016
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The present study has as its general objective to analyze the differences in behavior and culture among religious tourists who visit sacred sites. The study is descriptive through research. The quantitative instrument was adapted of Irimiás and Michalkó and Irimiás, Mitev, and Michalko. The results show a heterogeneous sample that includes different age groups. Among the data it appears that the majority of respondents are female and have higher education. A large percentage were born in a religious cradle and thus are considered religious. In addition, a high number of religious tourism participants are part of a religious community. Thus, it is suggested for future research to expand the analyzed countries in order to compare results, with the aim of analyzing other contents different from those analyzed. Among other limitations of this study we have: the information presented is limited to the articles selected only with Brazilian and Portuguese tourists; the research was carried out with the snowball technique, being limited only to the sample for convenience.
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Religious tourism, seeking to live moments of faith and devotion, has grown worldwide. However, this demonstration of faith and veneration of sacred places has existed since antiquity. It is known that this practice emerges from different aspects, either in the fulfillment of a promise or in the desire to visit places of a historical-religious character. From this perspective, different studies on the subject have been published (Savola, 2003; Nyaupane, Timothy, & Poudel, 2015; Abumanssur, 2017; among others).

Some studies indicate that religious architectural aspects attract tourists from different perspectives, reflecting on different behaviors (Nolan & Nolan, 1992; Prazeres & Carvalho, 2015). Others highlight the cultural desire combined with historical political and educational reasons (Digance, 2003; Baggio, Parise, and Sanchez, 2016.

In this scenario, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (2014) highlights that about 330 million tourists visit sacred places around the world. Based on this aspect, religious tourism has some specificities such as pilgrimage, pilgrimage, penance, religious events, and visits to sacred places (Macedo, 2011). Collins-Kreiner, (2010) reinforces in his study that, religious places of different spheres have become tourist destinations for people who wished to know the culture of the place or to know the religious history.

According to the authors Andrade (2000) and Oliveira (2000), studies on religious tourism have motivated the growing attention of researchers from different disciplinary areas. It is an emerging theme that, according to Silveira (2007) and Vilas Boas (2012), has evolved with the authors' lack of unanimity on some theoretical issues such as the concept of religious tourism, with a plurality of theoretical perspectives and definitions.

In this perspective, tourism, especially religious tourism, characterized as a “symbolic exchange economy” connection, is “linked to the religious calendar of the locality receiving the tourist flow, that is, religious destinations are linked to sacred places, where there are reports of the manifestation of a deity, or of the lives of people who have been beatified or sanctified” (Tendeiro, 2010, p. 5).

According to Prazeres & Carvalho (2015), sanctuary cities are epicenters of religious tourism, defined as a complex and dynamic phenomenon. The relevant issues related to religious tourism are essential to frame and understand the role of sanctuary cities in the action of welcoming their visitors (p.1147).

The population is looking for pilgrimages to sanctuaries, as they are places that allow more magnificent “meditation” with God. These trips to the Shrines gave rise to religious tourism, which in addition to the religious aspect, can also have the entertainment aspect, as is the case of parties, processions, pilgrimages.

According to Oliveira (2004), pilgrimages, parties, processions, pilgrimages, provide a break in the daily life of the population, that is, a renewal of strength and faith for a specified period. Religious tourism emerges as a new option for segmenting the tourist market, where tourists seek spiritual peace, pay promises, obtain graces, and others.

In this perspective, several places have stood out for the practice of religious tourism, such as the Basilica of Senhor do Bonfim, in Bahia, the city of Aparecida in São Paulo, both in Brazil, Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Rosario de Fátima, in Fátima, and Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro, in Braga, both in Portugal.

Based on such inferences and knowing the emerging importance of the theme, the research problem was elaborated: “What are the differences in behavior and culture that exist between religious tourists who visit sacred places?”. Thus, the present study has the general objective: To analyze the differences in perception of behavior and cultures among religious tourists who visit sacred sites in both countries.

In the analysis of the articles, we sought to incorporate the research of authors with works with scientific recognition, as well as recent articles that have not yet had the time necessary to be cited by researchers in scientific works.

The present study is a survey, characterized as the approach as a quantitative descriptive. The questionnaire applied contains 10 questions and was developed to obtain global radiography of the perception of the behavior of religious tourism, differences in behavior, and culture among religious and cultural tourists who visit sacred sites.

Some dichotomous questions, multiple options, multiple answers, as well as a 5-point Likert scale. For data processing, the spreadsheet Excel 2016 for Windows and SPSS version 22 for Windows were used.

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