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Spiritual Tourism

Bit Itinera: spiritual traveling evolves from tradition to modernity at Bit 2010

eTN Staff Writer  Feb 17, 2010

The Bit appointment with spiritual tourism is back with its formula expanded to include all three big monotheistic religions. More than 300 operators from all over the world are expected, involved in enhancement of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious destinations.

One of the most beautiful tales from the Decameron tells the parable of the three rings: a father of three sons, needing to decide which one will inherit a very valuable ring and not wanting to offend any of them, has a very skilled goldsmith make two identical copies. He gives each one a ring, without telling them which the original is. Each of the sons thinks he has the real ring. And for the father, who loves them all equally, the three jewels actually do have the same value.

FROM PILGRIMAGE TO SPIRITUAL TOURISM – This is the metaphor that in the Middle Ages was used to represent the close, complex relationship that links the three bit monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. A relationship that in today’s increasingly more globalised world, returns in a contemporary guise through growth in exchanges based on religion-based travel. The jewel in the crown of the world phenomenon of value-grounded tourism, spiritual tourism is today a movement that involves at least 300 million people all over the world and a total of 18 billion dollars (WTO – World Tourism Organisation figures), 4.5 billion of which in Italy.

And which contributes to enhancing its related contexts. One example? The Diocesan Museum in Milan that, focussed on a mission that is first and foremost spiritual, has also become an artistic-cultural benchmark and a meeting place for the city, thanks to very successful exhibitions and evening opening times.

SPIRITUAL TOURISM AT BIT: BIT ITINERA – Bit has for a while now paid great attention to this phenomenon and at this edition, Bit Itinera provides a specific collation opportunity for Operators involved in enhancement of historical sites, holy itineraries and paths, places of worship and religious resorts. To meet spiritual tourism’s growing need to open itself to an inter-religion viewpoint, this year Bit Itinera expands its horizons to all three big monotheistic religions: in addition to the traditional Christian pilgrim destinations, it will also include Jewish and Islamic places of worship.
Based on the workshop formula, a focused encounter in a dedicated area for those who supply and those who demand religious tourism services, Bit Itinera allows the spiritual and cultural dimension to be combined with the needs for high tourism standards expressed by new pilgrim targets.

ORGANISERS AND TARGET – Bit Itinera is organised by the International Tourism Exchange in collaboration with Aurea (Religious Tourism Exchange) and Spazio Eventi.

The workshop will see participation by 80 representatives from national and international users that include diocesan officials, specialised travel agencies, parochial operators and representatives of the clergy who will meet up in a reserved area 220 exponents of the cream of the international religious tourism providers, including pilgrimage organisers, travel agencies, religious accommodation centres, faith itineraries, places of worship, holiday homes, hostels and bed & breakfasts, hotels, religious associations, ecclesiastic movements and museums.

Bit Itinera is part of the 30th edition of Bit – International Tourism Exchange, at the fieramilano exhibition centre in Rho from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st February 2010. Further information updates: .

Bit Itinera: spiritual traveling evolves from tradition to modernity at Bit 2010
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