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Abstract

Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Christians have emerged as an overlooked sector showing unexpected growth among same-day religious tourists to the Holy Land. How do they come to total over 200,000 unique guests and make up 35% of all single-day visitors to Israel when they come from so far away? Researchers need to rethink first what constitutes same-day religious tourism. Marketing mechanisms attract Russians and Ukrainians to Cyprus, and then facilitate opportunities to sample religious heritage sites in nearby Israel. Together this sequence comprises a specific causal chain which triggers one-day, round trip excursions from the Cypriot coast for an hour-long flight to Tel Aviv/Yafo, a day of motoring and dining, and back again. Over one-third of all Russian visitors to Israel now complete their trip to the Holy Land in under a day, and these day trippers represent a quarter of that nationality which chooses to vacation in Cyprus. The implications for airlines, tour operators and providing heritage access to other locales are huge. Tourism manipulated for geopolitical advantage is the greater lesson.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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