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Abstract

This paper explains peculiarities, significance, and universality of weekend-trips as significant form of religious tourism using a comparative analysis of this phenomenon in two pilgrimage sites from two different cultures (and countries), namely, Vrindavan in India and the Shrine of Santimissi Medici in Italy. The findings derived from a case-study approach and visitors’ survey method confirm that religious tourism falls under the more general category of leisure and that visitors who flock to these places on weekends do not coincide either with general models proposed in the extant literature, nor can they be assimilated to the conventional categories of pilgrims and/or tourists. While highlighting the similarities and differences in the two cases, the paper proposes that weekend visitors are best described as religious tourists: visitors who use tourism as a means to fulfill a predominant religious motive in visiting a destination they consider religious or sacred. The analysis based on the concept of weekend-trips helps to explore nuances of religious tourism which can be used for better planning and management in religious tourism destinations.

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