Beyond Pilgrimages: Faith-Based Travel
Pilgrimages and religious heritage tours. Mission trips and volunteer vacations. Cruises, leisure vacations and retreats. Adventure. Faith-based travel encompasses more than you might think—and is so diverse, anyone could actively engage in the market.
"Everyone has the opportunity to create their own experience when taking a faith-based tour," said Joanna Dyer, Religious Travel Manager of Globus. "Some are traveling for deeper meaning and connection to their faith; others want to learn more about their faith, and some might be fulfilling a lifelong dream."
Popular destinations for faith-based travel stretch far and wide, based not only on religion but also on particular interests within that religion. In the Christian religion alone, there are a number of locations for specific attentions. Christians interested in retracing the footsteps of Jesus may seek tours in Israel and Jordan. For those interested in the Apostle Pauls' journey, Greece is popular. Additionally, travelers might tour Catholic cathedrals in Spain and Italy. With 2017 marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Germany is highly popular destination.
No matter the destination or activity, building fellowship and community is an important aspect of faith-based travel. Time for prayer and reflection are important elements to schedule into a trip itinerary, as well as attending scheduled religious services.
"Faith-based travel can also have secular elements to balance out the tour," Dyer said. "There is also a lot to learn about the culture of a destination, not to mention trying the local food!"
It's important to balance what Dyer calls "faith and fun" during a faith-based tour. And if you intend to travel during a special religious event, planning ahead of time is important to ensure you can secure a space for your group.
"Faith-based travel is a unique opportunity for those who want to learn more about their faith or reconnect with their faith by traveling to key religious sites," said Dyer. "Being able to explore the roots of faith by walking in the footsteps of spiritual leaders and standing in the very places where history unfolded is part of the experience."
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.