St. Peter’s Basilica, the Dome of the Rock, Lourdes Shrine – these are just a few of the sacred places around the world for people of faith. With the help of Virtuoso travel advisors, travelers drawn to these kinds of destinations are finding a blend of luxury amenities, historical significance and personal meaning.
Studies suggest that religious vacations are growing in popularity, with an estimated 16 million faith-based travelers annually. “As more and more travel opportunities are offered by churches and faith organizations, demand for them is increasing,” says Jane Luzietti, a Virtuoso travel advisor in Denver, Colorado. “There is definitely a growing awareness of faith-based travel as a vacation option.”
“A big trend is religious travelers wanting to blend the spiritual and secular aspects of the destinations they visit,” says Jennifer Halboth, director of marketing at Virtuoso partner Globus in Littleton, Colorado. “We are seeing advisors developing land-based faith itineraries around our Avalon Waterways river cruising departures,” she says, noting that a recent client developed a pilgrimage on a Rhine cruise, visiting cathedrals, abbeys and shrines along the river.
Lilo Matinas, a Virtuoso travel advisor in Richboro, Pennsylvania, serves many church groups. Some transform pilgrimages into luxury vacations: “For one recent client we added fine dining, spas and higher-end hotels, and he loved it. He’s been to Israel so many times, he wanted something different.”
Matinas describes the unique client experiences she can create for a religious vacation: “We might arrange a dinner with Bedouins in the desert or a visit to the Arab section of Bethlehem for a typical Middle Eastern dinner.”
Luzietti also customizes spiritual experiences for clients’ preferences. “We can provide in-depth experiences at sacred sites; talks by expert speakers; meaningful venues for religious services; and time and space for prayer and reflection,” she says, adding that she provides world-class experiences with “a bit of luxury in unexpected ways on all our trips.”
Are you looking for a religious vacation? A Virtuoso travel advisor is waiting to create a special experience that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Click here to find the advisor that’s right for your needs.