Religious tourism on the rise

During long weekends and Easter holidays, survey says

(ANSA) - Milan, April 11 - The great popularity of Pope Francis has led to a boom in religious tourism among Italians this spring, according to a survey by Allianz Global Assistance on 142 travel agencies across Italy published on Friday.
    When choosing a destination for a long weekend for national Italian holidays on April 25 and May 1 or for Easter, the overwhelming majority of Italians (80%) will be looking for culture in Italy or abroad.
    Italian tourists will also be on the lookout for spas or resorts to relax and chill out, about 15%, followed by those who will be choosing spirit over matter, roughly 4%, well ahead of foodies, just 1%. According to the research, the religious holiday trend "is constantly growing".
    "Among those who will be treating the spirit during long weekends this spring, Rome is the top destination of choice (37%), followed by locations connected to the figure of Mary, led by Medjugorie (21%), Lourdes (19%) and the Holy Land (11%)", it said.
    Other popular religious destinations in Italy include Pietralcina, Assisi, San Giovanni Rotondo and Loreto.
    Overall, 61% of Italians will only be travelling for a two-day weekend and 68% will choose a destination in Europe.
    Only 35% planned a longer trip of at least a week with 72% choosing exotic long-distance destinations.