The Opportunities for the Development of Religious Tourism in Georgia

The Opportunities for the Development of Religious Tourism in Georgia

Manana Darchashvili
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5792-1.ch012
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In recent years, tourism in Georgia has been a priority area for the economy, and accordingly, special attention is paid to its elaboration, since it has a great impact on the stable development of society, improving the economic situation and meeting the spiritual needs. The research is devoted to a very relevant and at the same time specific type of tourism, religious tourism, pilgrimage, traveling due to religious beliefs. Georgia has very good potentials for the development of religious tourism, as it has numerous Sanctuaries, such as the robe of Christ, the cross of St. Nino, more than 12,000 churches and monasteries, and the cathedral, about 150 museums. In addition, to the Orthodox, the representatives of other religions can also visit their religious places, for instance Muslims can pray in the mosques, Jews in the synagogue, and Catholics in Old Catholic temples.
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The modern world is well aware that tourism is a field which brings together the peoples, cultures, and religions and contributes to the sustainable, harmonious development of humanity. According to the available data, tourism is developing widely in the world and is one of the leading sectors of the economy. Tourism development strategy in Georgia is based on the world-recognized principles of sustainable tourism development; on the potential of tourism which increases the country's income, and the importance of promoting the development of other sectors of the economy.

Nowadays in the globalized world, one of the main indicators of the quality of democracy is the issue of religious freedom. Accordingly, in the Georgian reality, the issue of religious freedom is a very relevant topic and is always on the political agenda. According to the thought of the field experts, Georgia has a great potential of development of the religious tourism due to the presence of numerous religious shrines, and the authorities have to make more effort to use this opportunity and elaborate its further development.

Since, Georgia, as a multiethnic and multi-confessional state with centuries-old tolerant traditions and culture, religious diversity and the high religious self-identification of society are important factors of political and social life. Thus, according to the interests of international cooperation, tourism is acknowledged as one of the country's priority spheres. However, the country has to develop it in a more interesting segment such as religious tourism, which is less known in Georgian society. According to the country’s potential, there is a chance of having more interesting results in the nearest future than we can observe today, and gaining the desired effect depends on the proper utilization of the existing possibilities.

The aim of the paper: is to study religious tourism in Georgia, present the problems of its elaboration, and to finds ways to solve them. As well as to elaborate a plan for its future development based on the country's existing situation– the state policy in the field of religious freedom and tourism development, following the certain experience and the recommendations in the field of religious tourism.

Paper is based on a review of the literature, certain empirical materials, various researched-studied documents, scientific papers, analysis of data processing, and observation.

The study shows the country’s great potential for the development of religious tourism. Identifies the hindering factors of the elaboration of religious freedom and tourism in the country - the state politics on the development of religious policy, and seek the ways for future cultivation based on the conclusions and recommendations to overcome the existing imperfections.

The hypothesis of paper deals with the possibilities of religious tourism development in Georgia with the active involvement of the government and the private sector, and international organizations.

The conclusion/recommendations developed by the analysis made based on empirical material and documents from the relevant agencies, studied in the paper represents significant educational-practical contribution for the interested persons.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tourism: Travel for different purposes (time allocation, spending).

Religious Relics: Preserved religious objects, sacred parts and particles, and objects which belong to the saints, as a special memorial.

Georgia: An independent, sovereign state in the South Caucasus.

Religious Tourism: Travel for religious purposes, pilgrimage (pilgrimage) to holy places, and visit the religious buildings and shrines for cognitive purposes.

Collaboration: Working together to achieve a common, pre-determined goal.

Culture: Created by human hands, minds, and feelings. The division of culture takes place materially (the world of things) and spiritually (the world of knowledge, values, symbols).

Interreligious Dialogue: Sharing the views of people of different faiths for freedom and mutual respect.

Tolerance: A fair approach to people of different faiths, respect their values and views.

Religion: Faith, belief, worship, and acknowledgment of God.

Historical Monuments: A remarkable place, or architectural structure, erected by man or created by nature and related to a certain culture (architectural, ethnographic) facts or events.

Religious Diversity: The human environment, with different religions, different views, values, traditions.

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