18.3 Faith tourism and spiritual leisure in Turkey

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 9:36 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Kemal AYDIN , Sociology, Kocaeli University, Kavak, Karamursel, Kocaeli, Turkey
Vehbi BASER , Sociology, Balikesir University, Balikesir, Turkey
This presentation will center on the notion of "social capital" as a mechanism to discuss the importance of faith tourism in Turkey.  A number of historic settings are marketable and turned into leisure attractions.  Turkey is the cradle for many civilizations and is at a crossroads for major religions.  Turkey is a unique country, as it possesses rich historical and cultural resources where different civilizations lived in harmony in the region and left a wealth of heritage to present future generations.  Having this rich heritage, Turkey can be presented as a source for social and cultural capital.  Due to this historical legacy, the land may present peace and conciliation for the future.  This presentation will review the characteristics of faith tourism in modern Turkey.  How religion plays an important role for Christians, Jews or Muslims’ leisure activities in Turkey will be examined.  While having historical importance for Christians, Jew and Muslims, the country lacks in the promotion of its touristic attractions and celebrating their spiritual importance.  Turkey should pay greater importance to the faith tourism and market its resources more effectively because there is a need for world peace and people are exploring unique ways to connect with one another through using spirituality.