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      The Impact of COVID-19 on Pilgrimages and Religious Tourism in Europe During the First Six Months of the Pandemic

      research-article
      Journal of Religion and Health
      Springer US
      COVID-19 pandemic, Pilgrimages, Pilgrimage space, Shrine, Pilgrimage route, Virtual pilgrimage

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          Abstract

          This study presents the results of the examination of the influence of the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus pandemic on religious tourism and pilgrimages to selected Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic (March–September 2020). Field research conducted in shrines and on several pilgrimage routes involved interviews with shrine custodians and staff as well as pilgrims. Data regarding tourism and pilgrimage movement were also gathered. Research results have shown that the tourism and pilgrimage movement to the analysed shrines decreased by 90–95% during the first six months of the pandemic. The shrines in Santiago de Compostela and Lourdes were closed for a few weeks during the first wave of coronavirus spread. The influence of the pandemic on the age structure of pilgrims is noticeable, with a distinct decrease in the number of pilgrims aged 60 + . Also, the reasons for pilgrimages to shrines have changed. The overriding principle followed by shrine custodians and organisers of pilgrimages was to ensure the safety of pilgrims on their way to shrines and, most importantly, in the shrine areas. The largest Catholic shrines in Europe encouraged pilgrims to deepen their bonds with the shrine through participation in online services and prayers and to pursue spiritual and virtual pilgrimages. The study also shows a model of the development of pilgrimages and religious tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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          Hajj in the Time of COVID-19

          The recent outbreak of the novel COVID-19 is posing a severe public health risk across the globe. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the greatest destinations of religious congregations of Muslims. One of the largest religious gatherings is the Hajj that is anticipated to produce serious challenges of mass level exposures and spread to every corner of the world. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (KSA), must regularly analyze the prevailing situation of COVID-19, and involve the religious scholars to make appropriate decisions about Hajj 2020. Although the Saudi government has been continuously taking all possible measures to contain the pandemic, people's cooperation is crucial in the fight against COVID-19.
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            Pilgrimage at contested sites

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              Exploring the dialectics of route-based tourism: the Camino de Santiago

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                franciszek.mroz@up.krakow.pl
                Journal
                J Relig Health
                J Relig Health
                Journal of Religion and Health
                Springer US (New York )
                0022-4197
                1573-6571
                21 February 2021
                : 1-21
                Affiliations
                GRID grid.412464.1, ISNI 0000 0001 2113 3716, Department of Tourism and Regional Studies, Institute of Geography, , Pedagogical University of Krakow, ; ul. Podchorążych 2 (room 526), 30-084 Kraków, Poland
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6380-387X
                Article
                1201
                10.1007/s10943-021-01201-0
                7896876
                33611686
                046bf16b-f246-48a6-8390-f04b1ca1be4c
                © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature 2021

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                History
                : 29 January 2021
                Categories
                Original Paper

                Sociology
                covid-19 pandemic,pilgrimages,pilgrimage space,shrine,pilgrimage route,virtual pilgrimage
                Sociology
                covid-19 pandemic, pilgrimages, pilgrimage space, shrine, pilgrimage route, virtual pilgrimage

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