It was mentioned recently during the Budgetary speech of 2009 that Barbados is now considering religious, also known asfaith based tourism.
In a reply to the prime minister's budgetary proposals, Mr. Hamilton Lashley mentioned that a committee was put in place to include possibly, Apostle Lucile Baird and Mr. Patrick Tannis to pursue religious tourism in Barbados.
Christian tourism under the umbrella of religious tourism, refers to the entire industry of Christian travel, tourism, and hospitality. It includes Christians embarking on individual or in groups on pilgrimages and missionary travel, but also on religion-based cruises, leisure vacations, crusades, rallies, retreats, monastery visits/guest-stays and Christian camps, as well as visiting Christian tourist attractions.
The Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, Mr. Edmund Bartlett, mentioned in an article published in the Jamaica Observer that Jamaica is pursuing such a venture.
The tourism minister, said his committee has identified a number of projects to work on which include the possibilities of establishing a religious theme park, developing a faith-based map of Jamaica and promoting faith-based cruises to Jamaica.(Jamaica Observer)
The Travel Industry Association of America reported last November that one in four travelers are currently interested in "spiritual vacations." The appeal spans the ages with approximately one-third of each age group (18-34, 35-54, and 55+) expressing interest in taking such a vacation. And according to some reports, more than 50,000 churches and religious organizations host travel programs. Today religious travel, tourism, and hospitality is a dynamic $18-billion global industry with 300 million travelers. In North America alone, it is estimated at $10 billion.
In an article written by Kevin Wright one of the world's most recognized faith-basedtravel experts, aptly entitled religious tourism, he mentions that The faith tourism industry is comprised of virtually every segment of the travel trade. the following entities comprise religious tourism: tour operators, cruise lines, airlines, hotels, retreat houses, conference centers, land transportation companies, destinations, tourist boards, convention and visitors bureaus, attractions, museums, theaters, restaurants, and service providers like travel insurance companies.
This move by the Government of Barbados is a great one, as religious organizations in Barbados are involved in many Christian related conferences and seminars, and gospel events including Barbados Gospelfest, Jesus Week, Flame music Awards, Cityworship 168, and many others on an annual basis.
Religious tourism in Barbados, would assist the island in diversifying its tourism product.