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Abstract

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused a worldwide shockwave of fear and much misinformation leaving chaos in its wake. Holy shrines and other religious sites have a special place in the hearts and minds of many people. For example, the mosques in Makkah and Medina, Saudi Arabia typically accommodate over one hundred thousand Muslims daily. Due to the spread of COVID-19, both mosques were forced to shut their doors to pilgrims for health and safety reasons. This situation has saddened millions of Muslims all over the globe. The same situation applies to Qom City in Iran, Bethlehem on the West Bank, and the Vatican City. Precautionary actions have caused religious shrines to remain closed until further notice. The methodology used in this study is descriptive and multi-disciplinary. In this paper, the issue of COVID-19 is addressed from the perspective of medical science, chemistry, management science, economics, and religious sociology. This paper sheds light on the history of the virus, its effect on the global economy and crisis-management measures involving sacred places. The paper investigates how faith can expedite the recovery strategies of religious tourism, and consequently the tourism sector will follow suit. The paper elaborates on the potential impact of the pandemic on the future of religious tourism and how the psychological impact of closing Holy Shrines to pilgrims can be a strong driving force for a speedy recovery once the pandemic trickles off.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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