Drawing more than 300 million travelers annually, faith tourism - which includes religious pilgrimages and more esoteric spiritual destinations - is one of the top travel trends today.
"Each year, more and more travelers are interested in exploring sites with unique spiritual significance," says Scott Nisbet, president and chief executive officer of the Globus family of brands. "On these spiritual journeys, travelers are looking for a meaningful vacation. One where they can explore the roots of their faith by walking in the footsteps of religious leaders while also encountering a transformation or deepened sense of wisdom about the world."
Spiritual destinations are as diverse as the experiences they offer. They could be the location where a religious teacher was born, a miracle occurred or a place that holds other sacred significance. Below are some of the world's most popular spiritual travel destinations.
The Holy Land (Israel and Jordan):
Whether you're interested in following the "Way of the Cross" in Jerusalem or floating on the Dead Sea, the "Holy Land" is arguably the most important spiritual destination in the world.
With more than 2 million tourists annually, Jerusalem is a meaningful destination for both Christianity and Judaism. For Christians, Jerusalem is the site of the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Jewish people see this city as the Biblical Zion, the City of David, the site of Solomon's Temple and the eternal capital of the Israelite nation.
As Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem is also a world-famous pilgrimage site, hosting more than 1 million travelers annually. Other spiritual destinations of significance in Israel and Jordan are Nazareth - chief scene of the ministry of Jesus Christ, Baha'i Shrine in Haifa, Acre - the Crusader city, Cana - the site of the first documented miracle, Petra and of course, Mount Nebo - the mountain where Moses saw the Promised Land.
The Globus family of brands offers travelers the chance to see and experience all of these spiritual sites on its 10-day "Journey Through the Holy Land" tour.
More than 4 million people visit the Vatican in Rome every year. An important destination for Catholics, it is home to monuments of the religion's most important saints. It is also said that it was here where St. Peter took his last breath.
Greece and Turkey:
Famed Apostle Paul is known to have traveled through Greece and Turkey in the Bible's New Testament. Thessalonika, for instance, was the center of Paul's activities in northern Greece. It is where he preached, founded a church and wrote two epistles: Acts 17:1-9 and 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, with 7 million travelers annually, the southern French town of Lourdes is a popular catholic destination. Of course, Paris also welcomes spiritual travelers with Notre Dame Cathedral and the St. Vincent de Paul Shrine, as does Avignon's Chapel of the Apparitions.
For more information about the world's most popular spiritual sites and the Globus vacation packages that take travelers to these destinations, you can contact your preferred travel agent or reach out to Globus directly at www.globusfaith.com or 800-221-0090.