CFP: International conference on religious travel and tourism, Cyprus

Call for Papers:
International Conference on Religious Travel and Tourism in a Globalising World
27-28 April 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus

The University of Nicosia, the Euro-Mediterranean Academy of Tourism (EMAT), and the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO), welcome the submission of papers for an international conference, with the title:

Guiding the Pilgrim: Religious Travel and Tourism in a Globalising World

Confirmed Keynote Speakers
John Eade, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Roehampton and Visiting Professor at the Migration Research Unit, University College London
Simon Coleman, Chancellor Jackman Chaired Professor, Dept. and Centre for the Study of Religion (Cross-Appointment, Dept. of Anthropology)

Conference Theme:
With more and more people being on the move in today‚s world, guiding them to and around places has become a key issue. There has developed a vast written and oral literature designed to help people to their destination and enjoy their time there. This literature ranges from brochures, advertisements, travel and audio guides, site signage and interpretation, and descriptions of localities in the media to travel writing and travel blogging. Many of those travelling are interested in religious sites with the result that religion is a now key contributor to travel and tourism around the world. Religious tourism or, perhaps more appropriately, religious pilgrimage flourishes around the world, despite the declining numbers of those involved in institutional religion in Europe at least. However, pilgrimage is not just about institutional religion – it includes spiritual travel and secular pilgrimage. Spiritual travel involves those who are engaged in new forms of spirituality such as New Age‚ beliefs and practices. Secular pilgrims include those who are finding meaning through different types of tourism such as cultural, heritage and nature tourism.

This conference will explore how travellers have been and are given guidance by diverse written and oral texts in the context of religious and secular pilgrimage. We aim to bring together academics working across disciplines (i.e. history, sociology, anthropology, tourist and literary studies etc.) and those operating within the travel and tourism industry. We hope, thereby, to open a mutually beneficial dialogue.

The conference will explore such questions as:

  • How are religious and secular pilgrims guided to their destinations?
  • How are they guided around those destinations?
  • How are their expectations and experiences of those places shaped by the written and oral literature guiding them?
  • What is their role in shaping those texts and thereby the expectations of other visitors?
  • What is the role of tour guides, people, as well as oral and written texts, in shaping the experience of the journey and destination?
  • How is the identity of these travellers and local people influenced by this literature?
  • What role do these various texts play in helping people shift between secular and religious forms of pilgrimage?

The conference is addressed to academics, researchers and students working on various types of tourism — heritage, cultural, religious — and forms of travel relating to different types of pilgrimage, as well as practitioners involved in the associated sectors of the tourism industry (travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, tour guides).

The language of the conference will be English.

Proposed duration and format (depending on participation):
A two-day conference is envisioned, with keynote addresses, followed by paper presentations and discussion.

Please submit your contact details, academic/professional affiliation, title and a 200 words abstract electronically to Evgenia Mesaritou at The deadline for abstract submissions is 09 January 2012.

For information concerning the location, venue, registration fees and other important dates, please visit: