Today religious tourism more than ever in the history of humanity represents a vital and viable sector of the world economy. It is a major player in the economy of many nations whose foreign exchange earnings, economic growth and empowerments come from faith – based travels.
- Once a place becomes a destination for religious tourism, it automatically attracts some public utility infrastructure and services from religions organizations, good-spirited individuals and sometimes by the government. Such areas acquire a new environmental outlook and commercial activities begin to grow around them. Markets for shopping, banks for financial transactions, hospitality industries, hotels, hostels, restaurants, and even security outfits such as police posts are put in place as necessary consequences of these centers. These have economic implications for the tourists, host religion and communities. Every bond-note or any currency spent by the tourist translates automatically into incomes for the business men and woman found along the chains of economic activities which religious tourism stirs, stimulates and sustains.
- The improvement of transportation facilities are one of the primary economic effects of religious tourism. The access roads to the tourism destinations are built almost immediately and this infrastructure impacts positively on the rural and remote villages that host them. Transportation activities increase due to the huge human traffic and agricultural products are evacuated from the hinter land to the urban areas. With the stable number of persons around the healing ministries, adoration or apparition grounds, electricity, bore holes, education and health care facilities, communication network, housing estates and filling stations are put in place as well.
- Another economic dimension of religious tourism is job creation. Employment which it offers have results in vast proportions. Some workers are directly connected with the systems and structures of the religious sites. The religious clergy and personnel who are gainfully employed to serve in those areas, the lay faithful attendants, the guards, the sweepers and cleaners, carpenters and engineers who build the roads, bridges and the podium, etc. Other workers are indirectly connected to it. These include the producers of religious articles like the branded apparel (clothes scarfs and handkerchiefs), digital media, branding, video films, religious books, scapulars, chaplet, miracle water/oil, candles, mustard seeds, bottled water, yoghurt, mineral drinks, and natural and artificial flowers and so on. So apart from direct employment generated within the area of tourism sites, religious tourisms give birth to industries that serve the needs of pilgrims.
- The economic value of religious tourism is also seen in the increase in the sale of food items during the conferences. Traders in the local markets and shopping malls make direct gains from the expenditures of the tourists and adherents of the different religions as they buy from them at the instance of the conventions/conferences and observances.
- Religious tourism has contributed to stability, unity and peace. This unity and peaceful co-existence serves as antidote against ethnicism and promotes sustainable national development which peaceful milieu engenders.