Spirituality: A Way to Realise Sustainable Tourism

Author

FACULTY OF APPLIED SOCIAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITI SULTAN ZAINAL ABIDIN, TERENGGANU, MALAYSIA.

10.22133/ijts.2019.84362

Abstract

When deliberating on the spiritual dimension of tourism, one key question is that how individuals are seeking for their life meaning and experiences of divine existence, as well as their connectedness as subjectively lived during their travel.  In fact, tourism is closely connected to religion which has always been a powerful travel motivation from the time of early pilgrimages to contemporary journeys to sacred places. Religious sites, rituals, festivals and ceremonies are considered important attractions for both religious followers with special systems of belief and tourists with a casual interest. Perhaps, this characteristic of the tourism experience is the main reason for spiritual tourism experiences being recently popular among individuals who have started engaging in spiritualitydriven experiences and among persons aiming to develop their continuing sublime engagement by means of travel. There are various reasons for travelling for spiritual growth which is opposed to the traditional notions of pilgrimage and religious tourism. However, relatively few scholars have explored the multitudinous relationships between religion, spirituality, and sustainable tourism, despite the pervasiveness of religious tourism and spiritual connections to place. A subject that has received only scant attention in the literature is the negative social and ecological impacts of religious (mass) tourism. Several authors have noted the negative impacts of religious tourism on the commercialization of places and artifacts that were once held as sacred locations. The commodification of religious symbols and the economic implications of selling them should become of increased interest to researchers as the world becomes more consumption-oriented.

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