Tourism and its impacts on cultural or religious assets can be contentious issues for some communities, for other communities, however, tourism has been an important part of revenue production. Balancing the outcomes of tourism development is not an easy task particularly for religious sites. Some religious sites have recently become aware of tourism’s positive gains - not so long ago, many religous beliefs did not permit the use of religious values for commercial benefits. In particular, muslims do not allow the selling of religious assets as a form of commercial production. But ‘globalization’ and economic reasons have lead to the transformation of many destinations. So, development of tourism results in new meanings - more than just faith and spirituality based ones - in religious sites. Although religious motivations can limit the residents’ thinking on commercial gains, residents have to evaluate modern global trends. This study aims to show a case of a religious city’s transformation, based on tourism development. Konya is a Central Anatolian religious city, well known for its hosting of Mevlâna and his museum (the English-speaking world knows him simply as Rumi, the greatest Sufi philosopher and theologian). When looking back into the past, because of the religious identity of Konya, residents had been recognised as a conservative community. According to research interviewees’ statements, this conservative vision resulted in tourism being undervalued, even ignored by residents until the late 1990s. In addition to interviews, a questionnaire was developed for measuring residents’ perception and a sample of 269 responses were evaluated. Questionnaire results show that most of the residents have positive perceptions of tourism’s economic and social effects, despite having some drawbacks regarding environmental and social effects. Finally, it can be said, Konya, as a religious İslamic city, has transform into a modern commercial city and the economic and marketing effects of tourism have had a positive role in this process.
Bilim, Yasin and Ozer, Ozgur
"The Changing Face of a Religious City: tourism and the perceptional modernisation of a host community,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
5, Article 7.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/ijrtp/vol4/iss5/7