About the discipline
The Center aims to help people bridge religious differences in positive ways and to teach about religious beliefs in practical settings; travel to other countries and experiencing other religions and cultures first-hand has the potential to accomplish a similar goal.
Workplace diversity: Because of its nature, the hotel, tourism and recreation industry has sites in locales and cultures around the world.
Religion can be an aspect of cultural differences, meaning that those who manage or work at such sites will encounter colleagues and customers from different religious backgrounds. The United States itself has a diverse population and workforce – and U.S. landmarks and recreational sites attract visitors from around the world. A working knowledge of religious beliefs is helpful for those in service-based industries, because neither tourists nor employees leave their religion at home.
Cultural diversity: At times the tourism industries will demand that professionals travel outside their cultural comfort zones in order to either work or forge working relationships with others. Knowing the possible pitfalls in cultural exchanges is a step toward avoiding them and building stronger contacts. In addition, those in the tourism industry have high amounts of contact with a diverse public. Because tourism is service-based, the need to provide excellent service based on sensitivity and understanding is crucial. This could range from understanding that some faiths have dietary restrictions to the need for space for customary prayers.
Religious-themed travel: Travel packages for religious experience are on the rise. Trips to the Holy Land and other parts of the Middle East, for example, have increased in the past 15 years. Travel packages for Muslims making trips to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to observe the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca, required of Muslims at least once in their lives) also are on the rise. Travel performs more than a leisure need and the industry can be ready to fulfill the spiritual yearnings of those who want to travel for religious reasons. Another trend is travel packages, such as cruises, airfare, buses, and hotels, for religious groups, from Christian couples and Jewish seniors to religious youth groups and women’s retreats. Hotels and other sites also have a lucrative market in religious gatherings and conferences. Understanding the needs of religious travelers – with special attention to cultural and religious observances – is a good tool for recreation and travel professionals.
Other travel: America’s parks and landmarks attract visitors from around the world, from a multitude of nations, languages, religions and cultures. Administrators and personnel can find ways to be sensitive and helpful to each, through signage, guide materials in appropriate languages and exhibits that explain the diversity of American history and culture. Travel publishers and agencies can also provide information to travelers in the U.S. and abroad about how they may practice their faith in various countries (such as available houses of worship, or religious restrictions). They may also provide information about the cultural and religious customs of countries where tourists may visit, so that they may travel without offending, or being singled out, and get the most of their cultural experience. Travelers also need to be aware that there are some countries where travel is largely limited due to restrictions of religious-based governments.
Issues today: Researchers could study how much religion impacts people’s decisions to travel, and to where. What are people’s concerns about travel? Are they concerned they may not be able to practice their faith in another country? Are they concerned that they may not understand the mores of another culture? Do they worry about danger as a result of volatile religious climates? How important is it for people of various faiths to travel to their faith’s homeland, or to get a first-hand view of significant sites?
Researchers could study what religious education and travel resources are available, or what countries are the best/worst, safest/least safe or most significant for various faiths.
- “Rural tourism: A spiritual experience?” by Richard Sharpley and Deborah Jepson.Annals of Tourism Research. Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jan. 2011): 52-71.
- “Holy Hills of the Ozarks: Religion and Tourism in Branson, Missouri (Shopping for God: How Christianity Went from in Your Heart to in Your Face)” (Book review) by Matthew Avery Sutton. The Christian Century, March 25, 2008.
- “The Contribution of Ecotourism to the Conservation of Natural Sacred Sites: A Case Study from Coastal Kenya” by Celia Nyamweru and Elias Kimaru. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 2, 3: 327-350, 2008.
- “Influence of Religion on Tourism: Implications for India’s Tourism Policy” by Monish Chattopadhyay. The Icfai Journal of Consumer Behavior, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 59-67, December 2006.
- “Tourism, religion threaten Ethiopia’s tribal warriors” by Aaron Maasho.Associated Press, July 5, 2009.
- “A comparative study of cultural tourism development in Iran and Turkey(.pdf)” by Bahareh Pourafkari. Master’s Thesis, University of Isfahan, Iran. 2007.
- “Balancing water, religion and tourism on Redang Island, Malaysia” by Joshua B. Fisher et al. Environmental Research Letters. Vol. 3 (2008)./li>
- “Religion New Jamaican Tourism Lure; Fun in the Son Gospel Festival Joins Fun in Sun.” The Washington Times, April 25, 2006.
- “Do best fathers choose religion over recreation? Religious involvement is highly beneficial for dads, study days” by Amy Choate-Nielsen. Deseret News, June 17, 2007.
- “The feasibility of Sabbath-keeping in the Caribbean hospitality industry” by Eritha Huntly and Carol Barnes-Reid. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Vol. 15, No. 3 (2003): 172-175.
- “The Christian Humanization of Work: Job Satisfaction in the Hospitality Industry” by James J. Spillane. Review of Business. Vol. 22 (2001).
- “Israel to step up Christian tourism” by Ilana Diamond, The Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2007.
- “Religion led to the beating, ball-hockey player says” by Megan Stewart. The Globe and Mail (Canada), Jan. 28, 2009.
- “Monastic retreat a tourism success” by Nigel Austin. The Advertiser (Australia), Jan. 24, 2009.
- Spiritual Tourism: Travel and Religious Practices in Western Society. Alex Norman. Continuum, 2011.
- Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio.Thomas S. Bremer. University of North Carolina Press, 2004
- Tourism, religion and spiritual journeys. Dallen J. Timothy, Daniel H. Olsen (eds.). Routledge, 2006.
- Religious Tourism: The Way to Santiago. David Mashhadigholam Rojo. European Tourism Management, Bournemouth University, 2006-07.
- Holy Hills of the Ozarks: Religion and Tourism in Branson, Missouri. Aaron K. Ketchell. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
- Religion and Tourism: Crossroads, Destinations and Encounters. Michael Stausberg. Routledge, 2010.
- The Changing World of Bali: Religion, Society and Tourism (The Modern Anthropology of Southeast Asia). Leo Howe. Routledge, 2009.
- Holy Leisure: Recreation and Religion in God’s Square Mile. T. Roy Messenger. Temple University Press, 2000.
- Hospitality law: managing legal issues in the hospitality industry. Stephen C. Barth and David K. Hayes. John Wiley and Sons, 2005.
- “Tourism and religion: a case study: Visiting students in Israeli universities(.pdf)” by E.H. Cohen, School of Education, Bar-Ilan University, Jerusalem, Israel. Journal of Travel Research (2003): 36-47.
- “Potentials of Islamic Tourism: A Case Study of Malaysia on East Coast Economic Region.” Bhuiyan, Anowar Hassain; Chamhuri Siwar; Shaharuddin Mohamad Ismail and Rabiul Islam. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. Vol. 5, No. 6 (2011): 1333-40.
Codes of ethics
- American Society of Travel Agents – Code of Ethics
- International Olympic Committee – Code of Ethics(.pdf)
- National Alliance for Youth Sports – National Standards for Youth Sports
- UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Sustainable Tourism
- National Federation of State High School Associations – “Coaches Code of Ethics”
- National Park Service – Mission
- International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation – Ethics of Mountaineering
- Boy Scouts of America National Council – “The Principles of Leave No Trace”
- Annals of Tourism Research
- Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
- The ICFAI Journal of Consumer Behavior
- International Journal of Tourism Research
- International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
- ASEAN Journal on Hospitality and Tourism
- Burgeoning Religion Tourism in Tirupati, Vaishno Devi India
- Arab World is Hospitality Industry’s New Center, Says Jeff Ornstein, CEO of J/Brice Design International (PR Newswire)
- Beliefnet’s Guide to religious etiquette
- Interfaith Etiquette Guide (Foundation for Religious Freedom)
- The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, tips for business travelers on various countries and regions around the world
- Etiquette Handbook: Country Customs, information about business and travel etiquette for selected countries
- Her Own Way: Advice for the Woman Traveler, hints for women travelers including information about accommodation, dress sense, business, and personal etiquette
- International Business Customs, International Business Protocol, and Business Practices, information on international business practices, business protocol, etiquette, cross-cultural communication, negotiating tactics, and country-specific data
Professional associations and faith groups
- Center for Faith and Business
- Christian Coaches Network
- Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- International Christian Chamber of Commerce