The dynamics of religious tourism have changed dramatically in recent decades. This niche no longer applies only to traditional biblical destinations, such as Israel or the Vatican, and no longer addresses only segments of congregations and missionaries, but innovates and surprises with new travel formulas. Traditionally reserved for avid practitioners pursuing a rigorous religious approach, this niche market now reaches people who are hungry for new experiences and motivated by different aspirations.

Nowadays, religious tourists have the choice between themed holidays, such as Christian cruises or safaris, retreats combined with conferences or visits to exotic and cultural destinations conducive to spiritual enrichment, rest, relaxation or adventure. Like missionary work, religious travel can also incorporate a dimension of volunteerism and allows participants to get involved in projects to help local communities. Religious tourism most often appears in three forms.

  • Pilgrimage: a journey from a stay of one night or more to places of religious worship and whose deep motive is the conviction that prayers and other religious practices are exceptionally effective in localities linked to a saint or deity. The trip is punctuated by devotional activities (prayers, ceremonies, etc.).  
  • Participation in large-scale gatherings such as World Youth Day (WYD) or congregational conferences.
  • Religious travel for leisure purposes: cruises, visits to religious sites and shrines, entertainment, adventure, safari, tourist attraction visits, volunteerism and others.

Religious, Christian, Jewish and Muslim tourism has been growing rapidly in the Arab and Muslim world since the late 1980s. The promotion of this activity reveals the mobility of religious practices at the national or international level. Beginning in the 2000s, the development of Muslim tourism in most countries of the Arab world came to densify the official sacred topography devoted to other types of religious tourism, especially Jewish or Christian tourism. Some sites were also visited by tourists who did not share the same faith. Over the past thirty years, international conferences and cooperations have been organized to structure tourism exchanges and to make known the new places to visit. The states of the Arab world established national policies, sometimes international, of the heritage of their holy sites and sites related to religious history. This process often accompanied the rewriting of the religious history of these countries. The latter began an intensive promotion of religious sites through their tourism ministries.
Morocco is one of the best "Muslim friendly" destinations. In the 2016 report on countries with the most comprehensive tourism offer for Muslim travelers, Morocco ranked ninth out of 130 countries studied. Islam is a monotheistic religion based on the Koran. His followers believe in Allah (God) and the Prophet Muhammad as the messenger.
Jewish heritage in Morocco
Despite the global economic crisis, diplomatic incidents, the terrorist threat and especially the Arab-Israeli conflict, the attachment of Jews to the Kingdom proved edifying. The growing number of Jewish tourists visiting the country each year proves this. Close-up on a unique, if not, tourism feature unique to Morocco.
Churches in Morocco
Permanent by its constant presence in the Christian lands, multifaceted in its manifestations, the pilgrimage is rooted in the hearts of men, in their appetite for the sacred, their taste for the Absolute, their quest for the trace of God throughout the world. The Church does not create the pilgrimage, it authenticates it, organizes it, disciplines for the greater benefit of the pilgrim. The sign that arouses the pilgrimage comes from elsewhere; it announces God to the World [...]. In a religion as rational as Christianity pilgrimage is for the many the door open to the Supernatural, the road between the earth and Heaven.