Easter provides a boost to religious tourism, and destinations that offer more than a religious experience are best placed to maximize the benefit of Easter tourism, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s Q4 2018 global consumer survey shows that only 3% of Europeans typically take a religious holiday. However, 33% take cultural trips and 40% book city breaks.
Few European tourists travel specifically for religious purposes but that does not mean they are not interested in such experiences. In fact, the survey shows that a city that can marry religious and wider cultural experiences is well placed to attract Easter travelers.
Nick Wyatt, Head of Research and Analysis at GlobalData, offers his view on some of Southern Europe’s best sites that offer this combined experience, or at least as part of an extended stay.
“Rome is an obvious choice given that the Vatican is situated there. Easter Mass at St. Peter’s Square is an incomparable experience, regardless of faith and admission is free.
“Rome offers a whole host of historical sites and art galleries/museums to quench the cultural thirst, as well as being one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.
Santiago de Compostela
“This Spanish city appeals to pilgrims thanks to the world-famous Camino de Santiago, a trail that leads to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral.
“Operators such as Responsible Travel now offer ways to follow the trail that go beyond the traditional method of walking and the fact that the fashionable Portuguese city of Porto can be reached by road in less than three hours only boosts this destination’s appeal.
“Fatima is an ideal destination for Easter travelers seeking more. It isn’t as crowded as Rome, is well served by high-end hotels, and the reported Marian apparition in 1917 lends it great significance. The Chapel of the Apparitions and a statue of the Virgin were constructed and continue to attract pilgrims en masse.
“Fatima is only around 85 miles from Lisbon and 120 from Porto, meaning those seeking a city break experience in addition to their pilgrimage see Fatima as a very attractive option.”
These are three standout examples, but others exist too. If local destination marketing organizations can team up with holy sites and other sites of cultural interest, there is a certainly an opportunity to exploit.