Marketing suggestions for multi-religious tourism development: The case of Thessaloniki
Purpose: The human desire of honoring God has been transformed into one of the most interesting tourism sectors, the religious one. Religious tourism, undeniably, is a special form of tourism, which presents great potential for the future tourism in general and especially in Thessaloniki, Greece. This study examines the potential development of a multi-religious tourism product, by focusing on monuments from these three monotheistic religions in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Methods: Information was collected both through parallel study of literature review and “in situ” observation. Using data derived from secondary sources and monuments’ observation and at the same time estimating data from electronic tools, a marketing plan was developed that shows Thessaloniki’s dynamic momentum in the field of religious tourism.
Results: Based on findings, it was established that Thessaloniki has a clear religious-culture tourism content; it is significant to note that, the destination can appeal to Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious tourists or pilgrims. For this reason, Thessaloniki appears to posses the power to attract not only religious tourists and pilgrims but it can be a competitive destination for visitors who are interested in culture, history and art.
Implications: Through the analysis and estimated potential of religious monuments, which are associated with Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, a sustainable strategic marketing plan is developed focusing on the destination’s religious tourism product renewal and market positioning.
Religious tourism, pilgrimage, monotheistic monuments, multi-religious destination