Romania has a large number of churches, monasteries or places of worship as well as a great diversity of spiritual and religious destinations, thus explaining the development of forms of tourism such as religious tourism and pilgrimage. Previous researches confirm that in Romania religious tourism and pilgrimage has been on an ascending trend, Prislop Monastery being one of the most visited religious sites. A delimitation between the two types is difficult to make because of the different valences they have. This study starts from personal field observations, aiming to explore, based on qualitative methods, the motivations, perception or religious practices in the area, trying to differentiate distinct categories of visitors. The context of visits, the frequency, motivations and practices related to religious tourism or pilgrimage represented the basis of the analysis, relied on semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the motivations were mixed, starting from religious practices rigorously performed, to simple visits that were made out of curiosity and aroused by mass-media.
This paper aims to provide a model for the assessment of the religious-tourism potential in Romania. The religious practice has been in a continuous change over the past 20 years, making the pilgrimage phenomenon to have an upward trend. In the same time, many religious edifices are becoming more attractive to visitors, as they are included in package tours, and visited by large numbers of tourists. In Romania, there are many religious places visited both, by tourists or pilgrims; it is difficult to assess their numbers and also to distinguish between religious practices and touristic visits as no studies have been conducted in this direction. They are centres of religious (spiritual) power, in which people regularly spend money and time while around them it has been developed a real infrastructure, from roads or construction of facilities to more complex services that include accommodation, stores or commercial stalls, selling souvenirs or items more or less related to religious practice. Therefore, the objectives of this paper aimed at evaluating the tourist valences of religious edifices in Romania as well as the degree of their valorisation; in order to meet these objectives, three dimensions were considered and assessed: the historical-cultural dimension, the religious dimension, and the economic dimension. Many relevant elements for these dimensions have been quantified, giving them scores based on unitary criteria. The results help to see better the differentiation/association between the tourist value and the religious value of religious edifices in Romania, highlighting particularities at the national level, which will be the subject of further analysis.