Religious tourism – Local Economic Development nexus: Prospects for Atteridgeville Township
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AbstractThe long-standing tradition of religious tourism and its exponential growth in recent years are a great contrast with the elusive quest for sustainable development around the world. Similarly, the volume, value and contribution of tourism to many national GDPs has continuously grown, but the same positive impact has not been evident in ameliorating the human condition. It has therefore become apparent that beyond the macro-economic growth data lies the more significant developmental aspects of extending global wealth to less privileged communities such as Atteridgeville township. Herein emanates the goal of this study which aims to explore the prospects of establishing a nexus between religious tourism and Local Economic Development (LED) in Atteridgeville. Grounded on theory on sustainable development and Spiritual Intelligence (SI), the study analyses data on visitor profiles, travel characteristics and travel motivations. The ensuing statistical analysis involves descriptive statistics and factor analysis designed to produce summarised and reliable patterns capable of orientating the religious tourism &ndash; LED nexus in Atteridgeville. The two factors of spiritual wellness (1) and physical wellness (2) emerge as the defining motivations for religious tourism in Atteridgeville. The study concludes that these two factors constitute the thread to consolidate the religious tourism LED nexus in Atteridgeville township. This study therefore has implications for tourism planning, product development and tourism marketing professionals in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (CTMM) who should seize the opportunity to fast-track development in the community of Atteridgeville and the surrounding areas.