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The role of a religious tourism strategy for the West and North West of Ireland in furthering the development of tourism in the region

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Religious tourism remains hugely under-developed despite the existence of three world-renowned religious sites (Knock Shrine, Croagh Patrick, and Lough Derg Penitential Site) in the West and Northwest region of Ireland. In 2008, Failte Ireland commissioned the development of an integrated strategy for positioning this region as a world renowned destination for spiritual tourism. The development of a pilot project with a range of businesses and organisations from the region complemented this work. This paper aims to explain how a bottom-up and inter-regional approach was adopted to drive the process to develop a religious spiritual tourism strategy for the region. Details of the strategy are outlined in the paper and in particular, an examination of the successful implementation process.

Keywords: religious tourism, tourism strategy, implementation process, Ireland, religion

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