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Published on Thursday, November 8, 2007

US religious tour market potential more than 16 million

Americans are increasingly planning international vacations to explore their religion and deepen their faith, says Globus.

"While many experts agree this is one of the fastest growing vacation trends, until now the travel industry had no way to quantify these spiritual sojourners," concluded Globus after a study.

It revealed that one-third of all international travelers -- or 15.7 million US adults -- are likely to take a religious vacation in the future. One in 10 international pleasure travelers have already been abroad on a faith-based vacation – or approximately 4.5 million people.

The total market of past and potential religious travelers in the US numbers approximately 16.6 million people, Globus says.

"The results of this survey fall closely in line with the phenomenon Globus has experienced since introducing a religious travel division in 2004," the company says.

Besides visiting spiritual sites, 42% of potential religious travelers say it's not all about pious activities -- they want variety, with a 50/50 mix of religious and non-religious activities planned for the itinerary.

Past and potential religious travelers aren't the only ones interested in exploring the roots of their faith on vacation, however. More than 40% of all American international pleasure travelers -- or 20.1 million people – have some desire to get in touch with their religious heritage when they travel.

Other data highlights:

v      Religious travelers prefer groups. Three-quarters of potential religious travelers would opt for an escorted group tour, while fewer than one in five would choose a cruise or independent travel.

v      A majority of religious travelers are well-educated -- more than 60% have graduated college or attended/completed graduate school.

v      More than half have a household income of over $75,000, and the vast majority (almost two-thirds) are married.

v      Israel tops the list of countries that travelers have already visited on a faith-driven trip, followed by Italy and Greece.

Globus says it is the first and only large tour operator to have embraced faith-based vacations. The company has dozens of departure dates throughout the year.

Report by David Wilkening

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