Travellers are taking more spiritual holidays

Spiritual holidays growing in popularity

When the demands of daily life  drain our energy reserves, achieving a sense of inner peace can be difficult. For many people the idea of travelling to a distant land is their best bet for seeking out Nirvana.

After the success of the Hollywood film Eat, Pray, Love, it is hardly surprising that globetrotters are keen to recreate the central character’s mind, body and soul retreat to the island paradise of Bali.

The Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies in Bali (ASITA Bali) has revealed that there has been a surge in spiritual tourism packages to Bali, with a number of overseas tourists making itinerary requests to travel agents.

Bagus Sudibya, deputy chairman of the ASITA Bali, said: “Most of the groups are from Australia, the US, Japan and Europe. They usually regularly do activities like yoga or meditation.”

Bali, Indonesia

The association estimates that around 10 per cent of travel agents are organising spiritual tourism packages, with spiritual activities generating 5 per cent of incoming foreign tourism.

Some travel agents handle three or four groups of between 10 and 15 people within the space of one month, highlighting the rapid growth of the spiritual tourism industry.

“This shows that spiritual tourism has potential to be developed in Bali, and most importantly, it could contribute to improving conditions in Bali as this kind of tourism is more qualified than mass tourism,” added Mr Sudibya.

Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Kintamani, Besakih Temple and Pucak Mangu Temple in Pelaga are said to be hotspots on the island’s spiritual tourist trail.

Some visitors have also requested night visits to Tanah Lot Temple to ensure that they can escape the tourist hordes.

“Tourists who join a spiritual tourism package usually look for quiet, secluded places to do meditation. We can recommend some places, but they can also plan which places they want to visit, then we can facilitate them,” said Sudibya.

(Images: Dhinoo G, Krismartin)

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