Religious tourism studies: evolution, progress, and future prospects

Bona Kim, Seongseop Kim, Brian King

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This review study examines evolving themes in the scholarly literature on religious tourism and identifies research gaps that provide a basis for future investigations. The researchers evaluate a total of 84 studies of religion-induced tourism using content and thematic analyses. The findings show a plurality of approaches, both disciplinary and interdisciplinary, that extend to diverse methods, themes, applications, geographical foci and manifestations of the phenomenon. Understandings of religious tourism have evolved beyond pilgrimage and now encompass the meaningfulness of a destination. Recent explorations have extended beyond visitor motivations to consider their identities, such as individual religious affiliations and religiosity. The current paper contributes to knowledge by embracing infrastructure and the activities which occur in and around religious places as a legitimate study domain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2019


  • content analysis
  • literature review
  • pilgrimage
  • religion
  • Religious tourism
  • thematic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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