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Abstract

Religion and faith have always been strong motivations affecting society's evolution and people's actions. Additionally, religion and pilgrimage in contemporary societies have, among others, considerable economic implications. Religious tourism, an emerging form of tourism activity for many destinations, plays an important role for local economies. Rural economies can rely upon religious tourism as a supplementary source of income in many environments, to supplement agricultural income.

This paper, addresses issues regarding religious tourism development in a mountainous area in Greece, rich in religious as well as cultural and natural tourist attractions. The paper also highlights the role of the church as a key stakeholder for local economic and social development. The area of Mount Paiko, in the Region of Central Macedonia in Northern Greece, is considering as one of the less developed mountainous regions in mainland Greece; due to its remoteness and lack of any other type of economic activity, apart from agriculture. However, it has an interesting religious and cultural resource base, where the development of religious tourism could be considered as a supplementary activity with beneficial economic impacts, not just for the specific local area.

For the aforementioned reasons, local key stakeholders - such as community, local authorities, church, educational institutions etc. - are working together on this offering for the area, developing a ‘route map’ that includes certain initiatives. The paper highlights the contribution of one of the key stakeholders - the local church represented by the Diocese of Goumenissa - and the development role they can play as a key local partner. The Diocese implemented a Marketing Plan that was carried out by the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management of Alexander TEI Thessaloniki, also a major local stakeholder, with the scope to analyse and justify the perspectives of developing religious tourism in the Mount Paiko area.

DOI

10.21427/D76K5T

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