Title: Mount Athos: development policies for short-term religious tourism

Authors: Filareti Kotsi

Addresses: College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University, P.O. Box 19282, Dubai, UAE

Abstract: The case of the Christian Orthodox Monastic Peninsula of Mount Athos is examined focusing on the impacts of short-term pilgrimage upon the local economy. Due to the interdiction of women entering Mount Athos, the local tourism market has been oriented towards two different target directions: day-trip cruises that take tourists on a three-hour cruise to the west side of the monastic peninsula and day-trip pilgrimages that allow pilgrims, mainly women, during a five-hour voyage to venerate the relics from various monasteries of Mount Athos. The study examines the evolution of these two key activities in the area surrounding Mount Athos and their contribution to local economic development. Research findings, based on longitudinal research, support the importance of religious tourism for local economic development and propose a number of specific policy measures that need to be introduced to improve sustainable economic development for the broader region.

Keywords: pilgrimage; short-term religious tourism; local development policies; Greece; Mount Athos; sacred sites; local economy; day trips; religious relics; economic development; sustainable development; sustainability; Christian Orthodox monasteries.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2012.048993

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2012 Vol.2 No.2, pp.149 - 163

Published online: 16 Aug 2014 *

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