4. Pilgrimage

A different vein of theoretical thought made a statement about the close connection that exists between pilgrimage to holy sites in the past and contemporary tourism (Kaplan and Bar-on, 1991). This is a link that must be understood as a basis for further research. Such superficial relationships between tourists and pilgrims have been acknowledged for several decades by medieval scholars and by tourism historians (Smith, 1992) and have been a subject of further research in recent years (Vukoni’c, 1996). In its current usage, the term ‘pilgrimage’ connotes a religious journey, but its Latin derivation from peregrinus allows broader interpretations, including foreigner, wanderer, exile, and traveller, as well as newcomer and stranger. The term ‘tourist’ also has Latin origins, from tornus – an individual who makes a circuitous journey, usually for pleasure, and returns to the starting point. The contemporary use of the terms, identifying the ‘pilgrim’ as a religious traveller and the ‘tourist’ as a vacationer, is a culturally constructed polarity that veils the motives of the travellers (Smith, 1992). The nature of the ‘tourist experience’ has received a lot of attention tourism research (Turner and Turner 1969, 1978; MacCannell, 1973; Cohen, 1979, 1992).MacCannell (1973) was the first to claim that it is a quest for the authentic, and that it presents the pilgrimage of modern man: the tourist is perceived as a pilgrim in the current modern secular world. Tourism has been defined as an activity dependent on three operative elements: discretionary income, leisure time and social sanctions permissive of travel. Pilgrimage also requires these elements (Smith, 1989). The Turners have claimed that a tourist is half a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist (Turner and Turner, 1978). Others such as Graburn (1989) link tourism to the pleasure periphery and describe tourism as a ‘sacred journey’ in which the individual escapes from the secular everyday world to the land of play.