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Abstract

Pilgrimage Tourism, one of the oldest forms of travelling, is the largest tourism sector in India; annually more than 70% of domestic tourist movement is for religious purposes which comes to 250 million pilgrims (Jachowski, 2000, Singh, 2016) and accounts for 20% of the revenue generated in the tourism industry (Dewan et al., 2008), hence, making it significant religiously, economically, politically, as well as sociologically. The present study was based on a survey conducted among the visitors who came for the 17th Exposition of St Francis Xavier’s holy relics, a Christian religious event, from 22nd November 2014 to 4th January 2015. Firstly, we discuss whether there is any association between the two groups of travellers (religious only Vs religious plus other travel motivations) and their demographic characteristics. Secondly, an attempt is made to explore the possibility of identifying latent motivational factors. Next, testing is done to find out whether there is any significant difference in motivational factors (Tsai et al., 2002) across various demographic characteristics of the combined visitors. Finally, the paper identifies the gap with respect to various facilities available for tourism, based on what the visitors perceived before visiting and what they experienced afterwards. It was found that demographically there is no difference between those who are coming specifically for religious purpose Vs those coming for religious and other purposes. Results also allowed the categorising of latent motivational factors and finding that demographically there is no difference except for age (working class) with respect to escape from busy life. With respect to the various tourism facilities, it was found that the quantified results exactly match with the qualitative findings of Wilson (1997); almost all of the facilities experienced by the visitors are falling under the A-Quadrant, where serious improvements need to be made. It can be concluded that there are many grey areas where timely actions from various tourism stakeholders is urgently required to maintain a consistent and positive image before the ‘experience’ becomes less attractive.

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