If there is a movement that actually started tourism then it is religious travel. Religious tourism usually relates to the followers of particular faiths who visit locations that are considered as holy sites.
Religious sites are not only visited by the pilgrims but also visited by non-religious tourists since they have cultural, historical and religious significance.
While most types of the tourism industry are directly affected by economic instability the religious segment is less affected by these economic issues because the reason for travelling is very strong. When we are talking faith, money does not play a vital role in stopping visits to a destination.
Religious tourism is the pioneer form of tourism which began almost with the dawn of humanity. From the ancient times religious destinations were not only a part of the cultural landscape but they also had a vital factor in the local economy of hosted destinations.
Some of the religious places such as Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Fatima in Portugal and Lourdes in France attract millions of religious tourists, charity workers, missionaries and humanitarians creating a huge financial transaction in the destination.
Tracing back to the religious history it is found that major religions have globally stimulated tourism as a foundation for spreading their own religious beliefs
The following are some of the world’s heaviest destinations when it comes to religious tourism:
Al-Masjid Alharam – Mecca
The Grand Mosque or the Al-Masjid Al-Haram is the holiest place for Muslims in the world. It is the largest Mosque in the world. Millions of pilgrims visit the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia each year to visit Mecca and Medina.
During the Hajj period up to 2 million people can worship in the Mosque and is the largest gathering of people anywhere in the world.
Al-Masjid Al Nabawe – Almadina Almunawwara
The second holiest site in Islam is the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi or the Prophet’s Mosque situated in Medina. It was built by Prophet Muhammad and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. It is open 24/7 all year round and is a big destination for pilgrims who perform the Hajj from Mecca to Medina.
Al-Aqsa Mosque – Al-Qods – Palestine
Al Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located on the same site as the Dome of the Rock.
Although Muslim visitors can visit the mosque to pray the Israeli government sometimes restricts entry due to safety concerns.
To be continued