Spiritual Tourism: A Review and Synthesis

Eva Lang*, Alexander Josiassen, Florian Kock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


While traditionally interlinked with religiosity, spirituality is today used more broadly to include esoteric, mystic, and New Age beliefs and practices that centre on the individualistic search for meaning and purpose. Spiritual well-being, an outcome of spiritual experiences, has been linked to feelings of inner harmony and direction and thus to reduced stress and higher levels of life satisfaction. Tourism scholars have acknowledged the potential of tourism to provide spiritual experiences and thereby contribute to consumers’ well-being (e.g., Moal-Ulvoas G, Ann Tour Res 66:151–158, 2017). However, academics’ and tourism managers’ understanding and ability to leverage spirituality is considerably limited by two key shortcomings. Firstly, there is a lack of consensus regarding the definition of spiritual tourism, resulting in substantial conceptual ambiguity. Second, researchers disagree on the boundaries between religious and spiritual tourism, which has further complicated the understanding of the concept. These shortcomings leave tourism practitioners ill-equipped to understand and leverage the growing interest in spiritual tourism (Moufakkir O and Noureddine S, Ann Tour Res 70:108–119, 2018; Vada S et al, Tour Manag Perspect 33:100631, 2020). Setting out to address these shortcomings, the present study systematically reviews the body of literature on spiritual tourism and synthesizes the findings along central research themes. Anchored in this review, the study also advances a more nuanced, and much needed, delimitation between religiosity and spirituality in tourism. Based on the findings, the authors identify gaps in the current literature on spiritual tourism and suggest avenues for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovation-Driven Business and Sustainability in the Tropics : Proceedings of the Sustainability, Economics, Innovation, Globalisation and Organisational Psychology Conference 2023 (SEIGOP 2023)
EditorsEmiel L. Eijdenberg, Malobi Mukherjee, Jacob Wood
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationSingapore
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)9789819929085, 9789819929115
ISBN (Electronic)9789819929092
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventSustainability, Economics, Innovation, Globalisation and Organisational Psychology Conference. SEIGOP 2023 - James Cook University, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 1 Mar 20233 Mar 2023


ConferenceSustainability, Economics, Innovation, Globalisation and Organisational Psychology Conference. SEIGOP 2023
LocationJames Cook University
Internet address


  • Spiritual tourism
  • Well-being
  • Spirituality
  • Religiousness
  • Positive psychology

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