Title: The impact of the consecration of 'La Sagrada Familia' basilica in Barcelona by Pope Benedict XVI

Authors: Estela Marine-Roig

Addresses: Research Group on Territorial Analysis and Tourism Studies (GRATET), Rovira i Virgili University (URV), Joanot Martorell, 15, 43480 Vila-seca, Catalonia, Spain

Abstract: The aim of this study is to use different perspectives to analyse the impact of a special religious event held in a church that is a world heritage site: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. First, this study explains the relationship between religion, tourism and heritage. Then, the impact of the event on the coexistence of Christianity and secularism in heritage sites was studied by identifying conflicting groups. The news in the mass media was analysed to identify which individuals and social groups were for or against it, their arguments and capacity for mobilisation. A quantitative study of tourist impact in terms of visitors and image broadcasting (both of Barcelona and of La Sagrada Familia) was then carried out. The results show notable social and tourism-related impacts. For example, the total number of online travel reviews about La Sagrada Familia multiplied six fold the year after the event.

Keywords: world heritage sites; religious events; religion; social media; online reviews; travel reviews; destination image; Pope Benedict XVI; Sagrada Familia; Barcelona; Spain; consecration; tourism industry; tourist destinations; Christianity; secularism; tourist impact.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2016.076776

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2016 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.95 - 115

Accepted: 27 Aug 2014
Published online: 31 May 2016 *

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