Religious tourism refers to people traveling for religious purposes to visit holy centers, places, or events. Other terms are used either synonymously or in a related manner, including pilgrim tourism, pilgrimage, and faith-based tourism. Religious tourism in the form of traditional spiritual pilgrimages has a very long history, which experts believe reaches back to prehistoric eras. A 2011 report from the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) citing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), says about 60% of the world’s population practices a religion, and this demographic is the main source of religious tourists and travelers.

Asia and the Pacific are the regions with the greatest number of faith-based travelers. Studies from the UNWTO calculate that about 600 million religious trips are undertaken ...

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