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Abstract

Nowadays, millions of pilgrims travel every year to a variety of sanctuaries and religious sites (Robles, 2001). The religious motivation to travel is one of the most ancient motivations and it has been researched from diverse perspectives (Griffin, 2007). It is widely recognised that religious tourist is often a more loyal type of tourist, characterised by a shorter but recurrent stays to the visiting destination (Robles, 2001). However, “religious tourism” is sometimes confusing and difficult to classify (Griffin, 2007), and the dichotomy of secular and spiritual tourism needs further clarification (Nolan and Nolan, 1992; Millán et al., 2010). Data from the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela shows “religion” as the main motivation to peregrinate, but few of them (8,63%) stated to have no faith motivation to it. Therefore, following the definition of pilgrim as religious tourist, almost the ten per cent of the pilgrims of The Way could not be classified as pilgrims (Millan et al., 2010). Similarly, visitors to the heritage along the religious routes would be classified as cultural tourists, and would therefore be displaced from religion.

This study analyses the types of religious tourism (Nolan and Nolan, 1992) to deeper understand the interconnections between shared sacred and secular spaces (Raj and Morpeth, 2007). The empirical approach is based on the emerging phenomena on the Spanish pilgrim journey re-creating the route made by Ignatius of Loiola, from his home (Basque Country) to Montserrat and Manresa (Catalonia). Field work involves personal interviews from driving forces and pilgrims of the Ignatian Way versus visitors of Ignatius related heritage, allowing deeper information on the visitors profile in a special scenario for his novelty. Data is analysed through a qualitative methodology (interview) understood as a method to represent thoughts and to respond to conceptualisation needs.

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