Religious Tourism Trends In Jordan – Sit Up and Take Notice Statistics:

One in four travelers would like a spiritual component to their vacations. (Travel Industry of America )

International travel from the USA for religious purposes rose 36% from 575,000 (2005) to 905,000 (2006), while overall outbound travel grew by only five percent. (US Office of Travel & Tourism Industries)

There are 400,000 churches and faith organizations in the USA , an estimated 50,000 have travel programs. (World Religious Travel Association)

The market is $18 billion, 300 million travelers worldwide. (World Religious Travel Association)

As the Times of London put it in a Dec. 5, 2007 article, there is “a commercial truth that has emerged over the past decade in America — faith sells.” The analysis went on to say that “religious consumers are loyal, educated, and have a higher than national average amount of disposable income.” Critically, they represent “elastic” customers – the spiritually minded come from all age groups, both genders and all races, which allows companies to penetrate different sectors across society. This is not news to Kevin J. Wright, President of the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA), who told the New York Times (April 2007): “In the past five to 10 years, the religious market has transitioned from a ‘poverty/penitential travel mentality’ to a first-class travel mentality. The religious market now pays for first-class travel products and services. This is a major departure from several millennia of religious travel tradition.”

World Religious Travel Association Forecast: Top 10 Religious Travel Trends for 2008:

1. The entrance of more tour operators, tourist boards, hospitality companies, and tourism organizations in the religious travel marketplace.

2. Increased demand for personnel specializing in religious travel; companies will seek out and hire fully dedicated Religious Travel and Religious Sales Managers in all industries from tour operators to lodging to travel agencies to cruising to transportation and so forth.

3. Faith-based cruising continuing to gain in popularity and grow at exponential rates; more faith-based full-ship charters introduced.

4. Increased interest in and attendance at faith-based attractions including religious-themed theaters, museums, and theme parks. Also, the debut of new faith-based attractions around the world.

5. Expansion in churches and religious organizations implementing travel ministry programs and community-wide trips.

6. Continued rebound in growth of tourism and travel groups in the Holy Land .

7. Debut of new travel and home-based agencies specializing in religious travel.

8. Churches and people of faith embarking on a greater variety of vacations and trips; new growth and demand for leisure vacations, adventure trips, cruising, and other non-religious based travel for people of faith.

9. Greater demand for products and services catering to the religious traveler (i.e. travel insurance geared towards churches and religious travel groups including missions, etc.)

10. Increased requests for tour directors and guides specializing in religious travel.