Análisis del impacto espiritual del turismo religioso en la experiencia turística: el caso del Camino Ignaciano

Religious tourism is one of the oldest forms of tourism, and the pilgrimage was one of the first non-economically motivated forms of travel undertaken by human beings (Duda & Doburzyński, 2019). Religious pilgrimages may take the form of a cultural expression or tradition, the search for a spiritual goal or the fulfilment of a faith commitment. An important part of the conversion experienced by St Ignatius Loyola took place in the course of a pilgrimage from Loyola to Manresa, a distance of more than 640 km. During his time in Manresa, he formulated the fundamentals of what was to become the basis of Ignatian spirituality worldwide and the cornerstone of the modern pilgrimage, his Spiritual Exercises. Loyola’s work is based on discernment and dedication to God as a way of achieving the freedom necessary for a full life. This article examines the impact and spiritual transformation experienced by tourists on the Ignatian Way as a religious tourism journey. The study consists of the qualitative analysis and coding of 95 semi-structured interviews with pilgrims over the course of a series of 12-, 16- and 30-day pilgrimages between 2015 and 2019. The results of the study confirm the importance of pilgrimage as a religious cultural tourism activity and that, despite much misplaced criticism, tourism in its different forms contributes to the spiritual transformation and well-being of young people and adults alike through one of its oldest practices: the pilgrimage ​
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