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Religious Tourism in Crete
 
Impressive evidence has highlighted the study of religious tourism conducted by the firm ICAP for the Region of Crete. Evidence that religious tourism as a form of thematic tourism has a future in Crete, as the island has all those qualities that help in this direction. The study was presented at a workshop held under the "Comprehensive action to develop, enhance and promote religious tourism in Cyprus, Crete and Lesvos" in the context of the Community Initiative Interreg IIIA Greece - Cyprus. During the conference acknowledged that all of the approximately 600,000 visitors coming to the island to get to see temples, monasteries and religious sites can be increased substantially and yet so far there has been an important view of the religious heritage of the island. The pilgrimage tour certainly is not a simple form of entertainment and is not intended necessarily to deeply religious, but every citizen who dominates a broad cultural and architectural interest.
 
Currently in our country operating a total of 80 agencies that organize trips and pilgrimage toura, in ddition to other activities and just 5 to religious tourism. A huge number of tourists arriving in Greece and Crete from the former Soviet Union who encounter problems with the visa issuing procedures. Tourists are visiting churches and monasteries that have information about miracles, holy and priestly valuable relics. Unlike traditional island visitors from Germany, England or France visit major temples in cities or churches and monasteries of historical significance.

During yesterday's conference also was noted that religious tourism could easily be combined with other forms of tourism  as it is known that the large monasteries and holy sites are generally located on sites of special natural beauty. That means it could be religious tourism combined with rural tourism, local products and Cretan cuisine. According to a study presented by ICAP, currently in Cretetravel approximately 400.000 foreign visitors and 200,000 Greeks to visit religious sites and estimates made by the study, is how to overcome one million over the next seven years. Pretty sure that there is the appropriate visibility of the comparative advantages of the island and the appropriate targeting countries that have a tradition in this form of alternative tourism.


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