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Religious Tourism – Part 1, Catholics

RELIGIOUS TOURISM – PART 1, CATHOLICSPart 1. In my books on tourism potentials in the Algarve and the whole of Portugal, I mentioned religious tourism as something with great profit, to come. In book RESSURGIR, on my chapter about the FUTURE OF TOURISM, I repeated it.

FÁTIMA is the great attraction for Catholics all over the world. One of the problems is that most come on the 13th, mainly in May and August, mainly 9 months of the year. It is not difficult to arrange events that would bring them on other dates, as workshops, prayers in unusual languages, or for specific groups, as motards(they do now), cancer patients, etc.

RELIGIOUS TOURISM – PART 1, CATHOLICSA second problem is that most of the track from large cities to Fátima is along roads with quite a lot of traffic. We could learn with Compostela, where most of the tracks are along dirt-roads or field/forest tracks, with almost no traffic at all. Also easy to arrange.

A third problem is that, although there is an airfield by Fátima, it is not accepted by authorities for the lack of a building to receive visitors. This is easy to arrange, if regional and local authorities wish. This way, those who wish to walk less would not need taxis or busses to come all the way from Lisbon or Porto. This track would be much safer and create jobs in the region.

This is what Aparecida did in Brazil. With safe tracks, this county serves tourists with all kind of needs, with many jobs. The counties around developed agriculture, industries as garments for souvenirs, tiles for construction of hotels, inns, bars, etc. The county invested in a long garden between the river Paraíba and a train-track, with the story of Jesus, with historical sculptures, plants, small lakes, plenty of space for tourists to rest under shadow, etc. At its entrance there are many shops, a couple restaurants and a small new old-track similar to railways 120years ago (photos).

There are a lot of meeting rooms for presential workshops, handicrafts, local ice-cream makers using local fruit, local special coffee-makers,etc. Many guides run vans and small busses to show interesting sites, waterfalls, etc. after tourists pray at the huge cathedral. Because of its fame, the Bishop started Aparecida-TV, which broadcasts some of the messes and a lot of films and interviews for catholic audiences, and has a good profit with its advertising.

On top of Fatima, there are plenty of religious sites with great interest for these tourists, both around Fatima, as Coimbra and Tomar, and further in Porto and Lisbon.

PART 2: Coming in two weeks - Religious tourism for Jews.

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