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Abstract

Many travellers whose main motivation is religious tourism (Catholic) have visited the major shrines such as the Holy Land, the Vatican, Lourdes (France) and Fatima (Portugal). After having been in those places / shrines, religious tourists seek to visit other sanctuaries but find that the offer is limited. With that in mind, in 2016, three researchers drove from Lisbon (Portugal) to Levoča (Slovakia) nearly always stopping at Marian midsize shrines and, in 2017, one researcher travelled by train from Nitra (Slovakia) to Lisbon also stopping along the way at Marian midsize shrines. The data collected by participant observation allowed the researchers to design three different itineraries that include the most important Marian midsize shrines and also towns / small cities along the way.

The objective of this paper is two-fold. First, it has a strong practical component in order to be used as a reflective tool by the travel agents / tour operators. Second, academics can use the programs as training material for student exercises, demonstrating that an itinerary is not simply linking a set of thematic resources but also requires knowledge of logistics to facilitate the visitors´ decisions.

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