Document Type : Case Studies


Tourism Department, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran


The objective of this study is to investigate the extent of spirituality in various types of tourism, and to test the hypothesis of the existence of common spiritual experiences among all types of tourists. McKercher's typology of cultural tourists and Norman's (2012) typology of tourists' spiritual experiences were applied to classify various groups of spiritual tourists participating in each type of tourism activity. The study population consisted of all individuals who have travelled with the purpose of pilgrimage, recreation, visiting cultural historical attractions, business, visiting religious sites, or participating in ecotourism and nature-based tourism. Sampling was done based on the convenience method according to the size and nature of the target population. Finally, it was concluded that most pilgrims and visitors to the religious sites were purposeful and sightseeing spiritual tourists with a deep intention to search for spiritual growth. Also, among nature-based tourists, ecotourists, business and recreational tourists, and those who had traveled to visit cultural and historical sites, a considerable number were Casual, Incidental and Serendipitous Spiritual Tourists, whilst only a small proportion had purposefully travelled for spiritual growth. Nevertheless, the research indicates the existence of at least one powerful element of spirituality in all types of tourism. 


In Search of a Common Experience Comparative study on Tourists' Spiritual Experiences in Relation
63 to the Various Types of Tourism, Mohammad Hossein Imani Khoshkhoo, Zahra Nadalipour


Ambrosia, V. (2007) Sacred pilgrimage and tourism as secular pilgrimage
. In
، Razaq and N. Morpeth (eds) Religion Tourism and Pilgrimage
Festivals Management
. An International perspective ،
Wallingford:CABI, Chapter 6, p. 78.

Arellano, A. (2007) Religion
، Pilgrimage ، Mobility & Immobility ، in : Raj ،
Razaq and Morpeth
، Nigel D. (2007) ، Religion Tourism and
Pilgrimage Festivals Management
، an International perspective ،

Ajit Kiran, S. (2004) Quest for good governance, contribution and potential of
religious institutions as stakeholders. Presented at “The Quest for
Good Governance” organized by the Monash Governance Research
Unit & Monash Institute for the Study of Global Movements, 27
August, 2004. Available online at:

Bull, A. (2006) Is a Trip to the Seaside a Spiritual Journey? paper presented at
The Tourism: the Spiritual Dimension Conference. University of
Lincoln. UK.

Coats, C. (2008) Is the Womb Barren? A Located Study of Spiritual Tourism
in Sedona, Arizona, and its Possible Effects on Eco-consciousness.
Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, 2(4), 483507.

Cohen, E. (2004) Tourism and religion: A Comparative Perspective. In Cohen
E. (Authored) Contemporary tourism: Diversity and Change. Oxford.
Elsevier: 147-158.

Cohen, E. (1974) Who is a Tourist? A Conceptual Clarification. The
Sociological Review, 2 (4), 527-555.

Durkheim, E. (1912) Elemental forms of religious life. Trans. Karen E. Fields.
New York: The Free Press, 1995.

Eugene, J. (2013) Holidays in a Holy Land: Spiritual Tourism in Placid
Puducherry. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science
Invention. 2 (5), pp. 17-22.

Francis, L., Williams, E., Annis, J., & Robbins, M. (2008) Understanding cath
edral visitors: Psychological type and individual differences in experi
ences and appreciation. Tourism Analysis, 13, 7180. Available onli
ne at:
Graburn N. (1989) Tourism: the sacred journey. In Hosts and Guests: The
Anthropology of Tourism, 2nd edn, Smith V (ed.). University of
Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia; 2136.

Graburn, N. (2001) Secular ritual: A general theory of tourism. In V. Smith &
M. Brent (Eds.), Hosts and guests revisited: Tourism issues of the
21st century (pp. 4250). New York: Cognizant Communication

Gil, A. R. & Curiel J. E. (2008) Religious Events as special Inters Tourism: A
Spanish Experience pasos, 6(3), 419-433. Available online on:
Hodge, D. R. (2006). Spiritually modified cognitive therapy: A review of the
literature. Social Work, 51(2), 157-166.

Haq, F. & Jackson, J. (2009) "Spiritual journey to Hajj: Australian and
Pakistani experience and expectations". Journal of Management,
Spirituality & Religion. 6(2), 141-156.

Haq, F. & Jackson, J. (2006) ‘Exploring Consumer Segments and Typologies
of Relevance to Spirtual tourism’, ANZMAC 2006: Advancing Theory,
Maintaining Relevance, Brisbane. (as viewed on 29/5/2007)
Heintzman, P. (2013) Spiritual outcomes of Park Experience: A synthesis of
Recent Social Science Research, The George Wright Forum, Vol. 30,
No.3, pp. 273-279.

Csapo J. (2012) The Role and Importance of Cultural Tourism in Modern
Tourism Industry, Strategies for Tourism Industry - Micro and Macro
Perspectives, Dr. Murat Kasimoglu (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0566-4,
InTech, Available from:

MacCannell, D. (1973) Staged Authenticity: Arrangements of Social Space in
Tourist Settings. American Journal of Sociology Vol. 79, No. 3 (Nov.,
1973), pp. 589-603.

MacCannell D. (1989) The Tourist: a New Theory of the Leisure Class. 2nd
edn. Shocken Books: New York.
MacCannell, D. (1999) The tourist: a new theory of the leisure class. 3rd edn.
Berkeley, CA, and Los. Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

McKercher, B. & Du Cros, H. (2003) ‘Testing a Cultural Tourism Typology’,
The International Journal of Tourism Research v5 n1: 4558.

Meyer. G. (2004) New Research Network for
Islamic Tourism New Research
Network for Islamic Tourism,
Islamic Tourism. Issue 11, 201-253.
، K. (2012) Religious Tourism- a Finnish Perspective ، Thesis Maste
rs of Hospitality
Management ، Haaga- Helia ، University of Applied S

Norman, A. (2004) Spiritual tourism: Religion and spirituality in contempora
ry travel (Bachelor’s thesis, University of Sydney). Retrieved from htt

Norman, A. (2012) The varieties of the Spiritual Tourist Experience.
Literature & Aesthetics, 22(1), 20-38.

Robinson, P., Heitmann, S., Dieke, P. (2011) Research Theme for
Tourism.CABI Publication.

Sharpley , P. & Sundaram , P. (2005) Tourism: a Sacred Journey?
International Journal of Tourism Research, 7, 161-171.

Sharpley, R. & Jepon, D. (2011) Rural Tourism: A spiritual experiences?
Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 5271.

Sharpley, R. (2009) Tourism Religion and Spirituality. In T. Jamal amd Mike
Robinson (eds) SAGE Handbook of Tourism Studies (237-253).
London, SAGE Publications.

Smith, M. (2003) Holistic holidays: Tourism and the Reconciliation of body,
mind and spirit. Tourism Recreation Research, 28, 103108.

Smith, M., & Kelly, C. (2006) Wellness tourism. Tourism Recreation
Research, 31, 14.

Steiner, C., & Reisinger, Y. (2006) Ringing the fourfold: A philosophical
framework for thinking about wellness tourism. Tourism Recreation
Research, 31, 514.

Shackley, M. (2002) Space, sanctity and service. The English cathedral as
heterotopia. International Journal of Tourism Research, 4, 345352.

Senn, C. F. (2002) Journeying as religious education: The shaman, the hero,
the pilgrim, and the labyrinth walker. Religious Education. 97(2), pp.
Smith, M. (2003) Holistic Holidays: Tourism and The Reconciliation of
Body, Mind and Spirit
. Tourism Recreation Research. Volume 28,
Issue 1
, pages 103-108.
Turner V. & Turner E. (1978) Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture.
Columbia University Press: New York.

Tilson, D.J. (2005) Religious-spiritual tourism and promotional campaigning:
A church-state partnership for St. James and Spain. Journal of
Hospitality & Leisure Marketing, 12(1/2), 9-40.

، B. (1998) Religious Tourism: Economic Value or an empty Box? Z
ahreb international review of economics& Business
,1(1), 83-94.
Woodward SC. (2004) Faith and tourism: Planning tourism in relation to
places of worship. Tourism and Hospitality Planning & Development,
1(2), 173-186.