Title: Pilgrims' progress: the changing nature of visitors to religious sites in Ireland

Authors: Frances McGettigan; Corina Griffin

Addresses: Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Rd, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland ' Garda National Training Division Unit, Templemore, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Abstract: This paper examines the significance of the 'experiential component' of religious tourism, which is likely to be a crucial factor of the visitor experience at sacred sites. The visitor experience at two of Ireland's most popular religious sites is investigated using on-site surveys and in-depth interviews with pilgrims, site managers and relevant stakeholders. The paper concludes that the future of religious sites is no longer likely to be confined to the traditional spheres of religion or culture but rather opened up to a widely diverse range of influences.

Keywords: pilgrimage sites; religious tourism; spiritual; religious sites; sacred sites; culture; visitor experience; motivation; economic impact; demand; benefits; Ireland.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2012.048999

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2012 Vol.4 No.2, pp.117 - 131

Published online: 14 Nov 2014 *

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