St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is a major Christian tourist site
Capernaum, an ancient Judean village associated with Jesus and a major site for Christian tourism in the Holy Land

Christian tourism is a subcategory of religious tourism which is geared towards Christians. As one of the largest branches of religious tourism, it is estimated that seven percent of the world's Christians—about 168 million people—are "on the move as pilgrims" each year.[1]


Christian tourism refers to the entire industry of Christian travel, tourism, and hospitality. In recent years it has grown to include not only Christians embarking individually or in groups on pilgrimages and missionary travel, but also on religion-based cruises, leisure (fellowship) vacations, crusades, rallies, retreats, monastery visits/guest-stays and Christian camps, as well as visiting Christian tourist attractions.

Christian pilgrimage

Main article: Christian pilgrimage

Each year millions of Christians travel on pilgrimage. The most popular pilgrim destination is the Abrahamic Holy Land, or Jerusalem. Nazereth and Capernaum, associated with the life of Jesus are also in Israel.[2] Most Christian pilgrimage destinations are based on the Roman Catholic faith, especially shrines devoted to apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary such as: Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, and Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. There is also interest in pilgrimage to St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in Rome, the capital of the Roman Catholic Church.

Christians come to the Jordan river to baptise. Picture taken in Yardenit, Israel.


Although no definitive study has been completed on Christian tourism, some segments of the industry have been measured:



  1. ^ Jordan, Mary (June 25, 2007). "Seeking Answers With Field Trips in Faith". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Leichman, Abigail Klein (2012-10-09). "Top 10 Christian sites at the Sea of Galilee". ISRAEL21c. Retrieved 2024-07-02.
  3. ^ "2006 RCMA Member Survey". Religious Conference Manager. June 1, 2007.
  4. ^ "About CCCA". Christian Camp and Conference Association. 2007.
  5. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (May 25, 2006). "Rise of sunshine Samaritans: on a mission or holiday?". The Christian Science Monitor.
  6. ^ Bly, Laura (January 26, 2006). "On a wing and a prayer". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 6, 2006.
  7. ^ Moll, Rob (June 19, 2007). "Creation Display". Christianity Today.
  8. ^ "Billy Graham Library May Be Bigger Draw Than NASCAR Hall Of Fame". WSOC-TV. August 26, 2005.