‘Knowing Oneself ' : A Case of Spiritual Tourism

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Rashmi JAIN, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, India
The global tourism industry has been changing since the last few decades. Newer forms of tourism are being vigorously promoted by not only the individual players but also by the governments. Terms such as eco-tourism, responsible tourism, agro tourism, and even volun-tourism have become the buzz words. A new emerging trend is “spiritual tourism" and it is being taken up very seriously by governments, state tourism authorities, even the United Nations agency responsible for global tourism - the UNWTO. In 2013, UNWTO convened the 1st International Conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development in Vietnam.

In an age of materialism and endless consumption, what has prompted the interest in taking out time to explore the ‘mind, body and spirit’? The traditional tourism (religious) in India connected the people with God whereas the new spiritual tourism offers to connect them with themselves. The new age travelers during their leisure time look for experiences that lead to self realization, strengthening of inner self, discovering one self and the world around. Increased urbanization, stress at work, stringent timelines, chaotic lifestyles, long hours at work have been found to be some of the reasons for burnout of young professionals (yuppies). The players in the tourism market have been quick to capture this opportunity and many sites have come up which offer ‘spiritual vacations’. Such "spiritual vacations" may become  a catalyst that brings greater enlightenment to the individual, increased understanding between different cultures and may even help to foster an emerging spiritual renaissance.

The paper attempts to examine the reasons for increased desire for spiritual leisure and the prospects available to satiate it.