Main Article Content
religious tourism, motivation, regional development, Greece
Religious tourism not only addresses the satisfaction of human religious and spiritual needs, but is also related to a range of reasons, such as recreation, leisure, landscape patterns, cultural or educational reasons. The aim of this study was to investigate the profile of 502 Greek tourists visiting religious sites on the region of West Thessaly, Greece, and their motivation as well. According to the results, the respondents are in line with the model of the short visit religious tourists travelling in organised groups. Using exploratory factor analysis, the findings revealed that the religious sites of the region attracted visitors who seek to fulfill different kinds of needs; religious and nature-seeking motivations seem to be significant factors for visiting the surveyed region. This finding suggests that it would be worthwhile for destination managers to pay more attention to tourist attractions, such as environment and religious atmosphere, in order to continue to enhance experiences and attract repeated tourists. Finally, motivational factors and activities identified in the research show that collaboration between the stakeholders, such as the Church, local authorities and tourist sector, is necessary.