Pilgrimage and Flourish Symposium:

Activity: Consultancy


During the COVID-19 pandemic, pilgrimage tourism has flourished all over the world. New and revived pilgrimage routes have emerged in many destinations including Italy, Japan, Nepal, and the UK. Various forms of pilgrimages have been attracting secular tourists, such as the increasing numbers of South Korean tourists walking the Caminos in Spain. Virtual pilgrimages have become increasingly popular during the pandemic, which would sustain especially for those who have immobility due to disability/illness. Pilgrimage walks have been particularly popular during the pandemic as a means of improving mental, physical and psychological well-being, social interaction, self-reflection, spiritual recharge, etc.

We have also seen pilgrimages contributing to the well-being of local communities, by providing livelihoods and liveliness; and helping aid cultural revitalisation. Some new pilgrimages are intentionally created by authorities and charities in ways that benefit and engage with local communities. For example, the Ancient Connections project linking Pembrokeshire in Wales to County Wexford in Ireland, involves various community engagement activities, and collaborations with local artists. Although the benefits of pilgrimage tourism to local/rural communities have been recognised during the pandemic and beyond, there is a lack of awareness and support from governments and authorities for supportive infrastructure and marketing, as well as local communities, and small business involvement. There is a need for a collaborative effort, where various stakeholders actively communicate and help optimise the potential benefits of pilgrimage tourism in communities, especially in economically deprived and marginalised areas.
To explore the emerging phenomenon in pilgrimage tourism and its sustainable, resilient and regenerative futures, we like to invite you to a symposium, “Pilgrimage and Flourishing” where scholars, practitioners, government officials, creatives and other stakeholders will examine the current issues, share knowledge and insights, and discuss pilgrimage tourism’s economically, socially and environmentally sustainable futures.

We also like to discuss: what the practical steps are in setting up modern-day pilgrimage routes; how to create a working model between pilgrimage organisations and tourism agencies/local/central governments; how to navigate the difference between pilgrimage experience and “regular” tourism. How can we encourage as diverse a group of pilgrims as possible, both in religion or non-religion, racial and socio-economic backgrounds? What kinds of pilgrims do “we” want to see on the path, and how much should diversity feature in decision-making?

We invite contributions from a variety of disciplines and subject areas including visual and audio arts, movement practitioners, anthropology, human geography, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, economics, history, development studies, critical tourism studies, hospitality/event management, government and charity organisations. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

Pandemic landscapes and pilgrimage tourism
Rural development through pilgrimage tourism after the pandemic
Community and cultural revitalisation through pilgrimage in rural areas
Pilgrimage and cultural/heritage/language revitalisation.
Pilgrimage tourism’s impact on the environment and the local economy
Poverty alleviation and pilgrimage tourism in marginalised areas
Rural entrepreneurship and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
The greening of the economy and pilgrimage tourism
Proximity tourism and pilgrimage in rural areas
Main barriers to pilgrimage tourism and solutions (e.g. low-cost accommodation)
The changing nature of pilgrimage (a niche vs. ‘mainstream’ cultural tourism), and what it means for future development
Tensions and conflict among pilgrimage stakeholders
Creative responses to pilgrimage
Development of creative tools to enhance pilgrim experience
Co-creation in pilgrimage community projects (arts, festivals, etc.)
We strongly encourage speakers to present in a creative way, which can include showing a short film, reading poetry, storytelling, movement/dancing, singing, Pecha Kucha, etc.
Period11 Mar 202312 Mar 2023
Event titlePilgrimage and Flourish Symposium: WEXFORD WALES ROUTE
Event typeConference
LocationENNISCORTHY, IrelandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational