Religious Tourism Promotion And Resources In The Activities Of House On The Rock Church

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Religious Tourism Promotion And Resources In The Activities Of House On The Rock Church


Abstract


Despite the fact that religious tourism has been in existence for centuries, there is still a dearth of academic focus on this tourism niche area especially in the developing context. Along similar lines, the academic analysis that has focused on tourism in Nigeria has largely neglected aspects of religious tourism, despite the significant growth experienced by the sector in contemporary Nigeria. This paper presents in part, a preliminary analysis of a longitudinal based study and with specific reference to the house on the rock church annual program in Lagos state, a major religious tourism event that takes place every December. In terms of the methodology, the data was collected through the use of questionnaire surveys, administered face-to- face to event attendees using a stratified random sampling method. The perceptions were measured on a five-point Likert-type scale. The results show that, while respondents were enthusiastic with regards to socio-economic opportunities created by the event for local residents, major concerns remained in key tourism facilities such as banking, transport, cleanliness and being a responsible tourism destination. The study underscore the need for the relevant authorities to consider a new approach to the event planning and execution that will holistically improve attendee concerns and ensure the event sustainability.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Religious tourism is a type of tourism exclusively or strongly motivated by religious reasons. It is one of the oldest forms of tourism. It can also be known as faith tourism or spiritual tourism.For as long as human beings have lived on earth they have been interested in travel. Particular homeland or cultural norms have alwaysbeen constructed with reference to, or contrasted with, the land or habits of the other. Implicit in this statement is the notion that some places are more special perhaps sacred than others, and this is the core of the intimate relationship between human beings, places, travel, and religion.

Religious tourism is estimated at the value of USD 18 billion and 300 million travelers strong. It is estimated that in the US alone some 25% of the travelling public is interested in faith -based tourism. When this number of people is added to those who travel for faith – based conventions and other faith – based activities such as weddings, bar mitzvahs or funerals, the number becomes extraordinarily large.

According to Vukonic (1998) the most frequent form of tourism – pilgrimages are indeed, thought to be the predecessors of the modern tourism phenomenon. Religious travel can be attributed as the evolution of tourism as people in ancient times undertook journeys to places considered as sacred sites. The spread of Christianity led to the movement of many pilgrims to the Holy land. The arrangement of Thomas Cook the Baptist preacher of Derbyshire for Christians going for faith – based conference in 1843 launched modern mass tourism.

Tourism according to MCINTOSH and Gupta (1977) is any voluntary activity that temporarily takes a person away from his or her usual place of residence in order to satisfy a need either for pleasure, excitement, experience or relaxation. Tourism may be seen to consist of senses of encounter in which visitors interact with their hosts.
History has it that the starting point of religion was from the tribal band whose religion is ammonitic and involved shamans (a medicine man from a similar region) and totems (an object, specie, plant, natural phenomenon symbolizing a family). Since the group was tribal, there was no permanent sanctuary for worship with cultic rites centered on identification with wild animals and appeasing spirits of the hunted animals.

Religious or faith-based tourism seems to be the fastest growing economy in the local and international sectors. Nigeria, as a nation has three dominating religions which are Christianity, Islam, and African Indigenous Religion. Adherents of Christianity are mostly in the southern part of Nigeria, Islam in the northern part of Nigeria, and African Traditional Religion in the rural part of the country.

Experts or scholars have rightly written that tourism is as old as man’s history. Man started traveling for hunting but religious travel made it a religious tourism. Thomas Cook developed modern tourism. Many people-built castles along the way and named it INN. From biblical context, with reference to the Abrahamic history, we understood that Abraham left with Isaac(his son) to be sacrificed. It is also a religious tourism. A tourist must return to his/her home. Religious tourism is the oldest form of tourism. Abraham and his household travelled to a distant country as directed by God. On reaching there, he prepared an altar of sacrifice to the Lord and declared it a holy city. So, also with Moses who had an experience in the burning bush. He heard a voice which said “you are standing on a holy ground”. These bible extracts have made us to understand the efficacy of religious tourism, the feeling of experiencing God’s presence in the case of Moses.

Churches all around the world put up programs and activities in the glory of God and tourists visit these churches and attend these programs for religious purposes. Most Christians seeking for miracles and breakthrough attend these programs for the purpose of getting their miracle. These programs strengthen their faith and make them believe strongly that they will get their miracles and breakthroughs. Churches like Salvation ministry (Five nights of glory), Living Faith church AKA Winners chapel (Shiloh), House on the Rock (The Experience), and many more others perform these world-wide programs and these promote religious tourism. People see the need of embarking on such programs and as a result religious tourism is accomplished.

House on the Rock is a vibrant multi/ethnic church with thousands of worshippers with several daughter churches spread over Africa and Europe. The church headquarter is located at the Rock Cathedral drive, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

House on the Rock was started by Pastor Paul Adefarasin in 1994 after he got born again. He started the church in his mother’s living room in Lagos with a few attendees, however, the living room church has today blossomed into a ministry that has over 50 daughter churches in Africa and Europe. The church has promoted tourism through its various activities like THE EXPERIENCE which is an annual program. It is done on the December every year. Also, we have JAZZ night which takes place every Sunday evening. During these programs, people travel from their various homes to attend these programs with the aim of getting their spiritual needs.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Irrespective of the gains and impacts of religious tourism, the industry is being faced with series of problems;
Financial constraint- Here in Nigeria, our cost of travelling is very high. People who can afford for such are the elites, ruling politicians, business men and women, clerks, etc. The middle class who are eager to have this experience may have lesser chances. Also, the lower class do not even have a chance at all except they get someone that is willing to sponsor them.The church might not be able to sponsor everyone present and this is a threat to the religious tourism. Tourists need money to fend for themselves throughout their stay and this might be too expensive for them and they might not be able to provide the necessary things that are needed for this travel like beverages, accommodation, transportation etc.

Issue of religious fanaticism- Cases of religious rivalry

Religious fundamentalists going against the teachings of the faith. Strict laws which everyone must adhere to which are not favorable.

Religious wars which are prevalent in the Northern part of Nigeria; Islamization as the layman would say. These wars often lead to disrespect among religious faithful, disobedience to the teachings of faith, and low turnout on participations of religious activities.

Most times tourists may not be able to tolerate the teachings of their opposite faith. An Omega Power Ministry’s (OPM) member might not like what House on the Rock church will preach. He might not be able to tolerate the doctrines of House on the Rock. This poses a threat in religious tourism industry.

Health issues- Most of the pilgrims are advanced in age. Religious tourism is a tourism that involves walking. They walk from their hotels to church, hence, some of the elders may find it difficult to engage in trekking. Most of them suffer from chronic diseases and may not be fit for such activities. This hinders tourists from embarking on pilgrimage. Also, there are lots of people who partake in religious tourism every year and stampede occur most of the time.

In House on the Rock church, many activities go on, activities like dancing, singing, jumping, turning around, standing for a very long time etc. These activities endanger the unhealthy ones because they are only prescribed for healthy people who can take the force of these activities.

Security- Insecurity is one of the challenges and problems of religious tourism. Most pilgrims get robbed on their way and this hinders others from partaking on this journey. After hearing the experience of those who were robbed on their way, they would not want to embark on religious tourism except they are being assured that they are protected. Using House on the rock as a case study, tourists in and outside Nigeria fear for their lives because of the crisis here in Nigeria and this hinders the flow of religious tourism. The shootings and kidnappings in Nigeria are great threats to the tourism industry here in Nigeria.


1.3 Aim/Objective Of The Study

The main objective of this study is to examine how House on the Rock church promotes religious tourism through its various activities and also to know the various resources of religious tourism in house on the rock church.

  1. It is hoped that through this study, tourists would have better understanding on religious tourism promotion and resources in house on the rock church.
  2. It is also hoped that through the findings people would see the relevance of religious tourism and how it can be promoted.
  3. To examine the relationship between religion and tourism
  4. To examine the effect of Christianity on tourism promotion.

1.4 Research Question

The study came up with the following research question so as to ascertain the above stated objectives. The research questions are as follows;

  1. Is there any relationship between religion and tourism?
  2. What is the effect of Christianity on tourism promotion in Nigeria?
  3. To investigate on the contributions of House on the Rock church in the promotion in Nigeria?
  4. What are the different tourism resources in the activities of House on the Rock church?
  5. How can religious tourism be promoted in the activities of House on the Rock church? What is the way forward?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The significance of the study is based on the fact that if findings of the researchers are well implemented, it will facilitate and improve the development of religion towards tourism. It is hoped that this study would answer some questions of how religious tourism can be promoted. The study will also arouse researchers to investigate more ways of improving religious tourism.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study will cover the various ways through which house on the Rock promotes religious tourism through its activities.


1.7 Limitation Of The Study

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

Tourism:

This is defined as the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of the commercial provision of services.

Religion:

This is defined as human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. It is also commonly regarded as consisting of the way people deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death. In many traditions, this relation and these concerns are expressed in terms of one’s relationship with or attitude toward gods or spirits.

Promotion:

Is the advancement of a product, idea, or point of view through publicity and/or advertising.


Religious Tourism Promotion And Resources In The Activities Of House On The Rock Church


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