UNWTO hosts spiritual tourism conference

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India has many spiritual tourism attractions
India has many spiritual tourism attractions

The UNWTO has hosted its first International Congress on Tourism & Pilgrimages, in an effort to boost the spiritual tourism sector.

The event is taking place at the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela from 17-20 September 2014, and will aim to highlight the contributions of pilgrimages to the global tourism trade, as well as the need to preserve natural and cultural heritage related to these ancient trails.

“With their unique historical, cultural and natural features, pilgrimages represent vital opportunities to further strengthen tourism’s ability to foster intercultural dialogue and contribute to the protection of religious and spiritual sites,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.

According to UNWTO estimates, up to 330 million tourists visit the world’s key religious sites every year, making pilgrimages a significant part of the overall tourism industry.

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