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SACRED PLACES AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT: DO THEY REINFORCE EACH OTHER? [Abstract ID: 1212-05]
The basic import of this article is a search for junction at one point between the sacred places and tourism. Whereas a sacred place is first of all a defined place, a space distinguished from other spaces, it qualifies due attention on the forms, objects, and actions in it and reveals them as bearers of religious meaning. Tourism is a travel for pleasure or business, also the theory and practices of touring, the business of attracting, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. One question reveals itself quite clearly from the above lines. Where is the junction point between the two? It is in the environment of a sub set of tourism, a cultural branch of it, commonly known as cultural tourism or culture tourism. The crux is that both spirituality and tourism operate in a given platform of human cultural arena. It however goes without saying that one feeds another in a complementary manner in a sense of both balance and harmony. Each could serve each other without altering or affecting one another’s values. With respect to the surrounding social environment, sacred places support tourism and tourism supports social development. The ultimate role will remain in the hand of sociality in doing two things but in simultaneous and continuous manner. It is that of preserving sacred sites and promoting religious tourism development to genuinely challenge the financial side of the story that notoriously challenging the social life in the 21st century. Ethiopian reality fits into this trend and encouraging tourism development is one of such prerequisites to successfully confront such inevitable economic challenges.