Religious tourism is among the oldest forms of planned travel and to this day remains a huge industry.
About 300 million to 330 million tourists visit the world’s key religious sites every year, according to a 2017 estimate. Some 600 million national and international religious trips are made around the world, generating around $18 billion (U.S.) in global revenues. It makes up a sizable chunk of an overall tourism sector that has been significantly affected by the spread of the coronavirus, with 63.8% of travelers reducing their travel plans as a result.
As COVID-19 evolved to become a global pandemic, governments across the globe closed sacred sites and temporarily banned religious travel.
It has affected popular destinations of all faiths. Jerusalem, Vatican City and Mecca — which attract millions of Jewish, Christian and Muslim visitors annually — are among the worst affected.
Likewise, Buddhist sites such as Nepal’s Lumbini Temple