SACRED OR PROFANE? TOURISM ETHICS OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SITES IN EUROPE AND JAPAN
Free (open access)
221 - 235
Europe is the number one tourism destination in the world and, in Japan, inbound tourism is rapidly increasing. However, when it comes to religious heritage, the mere sale of a spot through advertising and the visual consumption of its beauty by visitors is a questionable strategy. Rather, we need a deeper understanding and sense of place – including tourism ethics and sustainable development concepts. This study has selected two outstanding religious sites as case studies: the Ise Grand Shrine in Japan and the Stift Klosterneuburg monastery in Austria. By conducting and recording interviews with leading staff and associated stakeholders, the author obtained considerable insights into current affairs regarding tourism at religious spots in diverse cultural environments. Results so far show that both sites are still preserving their religious tradition while increasingly opening up to (international) tourists as well. Similarity exists in the welcoming of visitors and consideration of their religious affinities. Differences exist regarding the geographical choice of location of religious sites and the nature of certain religious customs and rules. Further research is needed to examine how tourists can deepen their spiritual understanding of the respective sites.
religious heritage, landscape setting, meaning, tourism ethics, sustainability