Ever since people have travelled to sacred places, religious and sacred sites have become some of the most visited destinations globally (Griftiths, 2011; Nyaupane et al., 2015), providing fascinating forms of travel (Griffin & Raj, 2017). However, despite the global importance and popularity of religious tourism and sacred places, few studies measure the tourists’ experiences in those destinations (Albayrak et al., 2018). Moreover, the standardisation of tourism products, including sacred ones, and the competitive market, requires that tourism destinations distinguish themselves by creating unique experiences. Currently, tourists seek appealing, unique, and memorable experiences that enhance their emotional link with tourism destinations.

Previous research studies revealed that tourism experiences and place attachment were related. However, research in this area is still scarce, especially in sacred places. Within this context and based on the tourism experience and place attachment scales, the present study explores the relationship between tourist experience and place attachment in a sacred destination. Insights of an empirical study of 329 tourists who visited the sacred Portuguese destination of the Shrine of Fatima allowed us to conclude that memorable experience have the following characteristics: 1) meaningfulness and refreshment, 2) hedonism, 3) novelty, and 4) involvement. Place attachment also exhibits four dimensions: 1) place identity, 2) place dependence, 3) place familiarity, and 4) place symbolism.

The present research contributes to the theoretical development of memorable tourism experiences and place attachment in the literature by addressing tourism experience and pace attachment dimensions in relation to sacred destinations. Also, the results could have potential practical implications for religious and holy destination planning, marketing, and management, promoting the differentiating qualities that attract tourists and involving them with these settings in a unique and memorable tourism experience.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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