In a city of huge diversity, religion is welcomed in London with its most common religious neighborhoods being Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. With this wide spectrum of backgrounds as well as an abundance of churches, temples, and cathedrals, religious tourism is common in London. Religious tourism is a specific type of tourism which involves people traveling individually or in groups for reasons such as pilgrimages, missionaries, or pleasure. Although religious tourism is welcomed in London, having a positive impact on the economy and serving educational purposes, it can also be viewed with skepticism at times.
Despite religious tourists having a positive influence on the economy, simultaneously, they create a fickle market. A market reliant on tourism becomes dependent on other countries’ economies as well. Therefore, if people are unable to travel due to financial reasons or a low in their own economy, London’s economy suffers itself. Tourism then becomes a negative aspect and cannot be depended upon to support London’s economy.
Another potential disadvantage of religious tourism is the clashing of cultures. Having a huge richness of religions in one area can create tension between groups because of differences in beliefs, rituals, and values. An issue that hinders accepting others’ religions is the fact that people associated with one religion tend to believe that the gods of other religions are incorrect. They believe that their way is correct, and other faiths are wrong. This can lead to arguments and when religions are threatened by each other, discrimination and hostility arise.
Hostility can also arise between religious tourists and the natives of London because Londoners may feel as though tourists are overpowering their culture. With an infiltration of different lifestyles and beliefs, Londoners can feel as though their ways are being threatened and not preserved. It is hard for a culture to accept change and welcome in a huge variety of faiths.
Not preserving traditional religions has become more prevalent recently. The emergence of New Religious Movements has become rapid with five new religions forming per day in some parts of the world. Generally, New Religious Movements have a negative connotation and are perceived poorly. Some of these religions include Jediism and Kopimism. For this reason, new religions traveling to London could be disrespected and could in return be disrespectful to those who do not agree with the basis of these new religions.
In 2006, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act was created which makes it illegal “to stir up hatred against persons on racial or religious grounds.” The passing of this act makes it clear that there have been discrimination issues in the United Kingdom and without control on the limit of tourism, discrimination has the potential to keep rising.
Although there are negative aspects to a mixture of religions in one area, London is one of the most diverse places in the world and has one of the largest tourism revenues in the world. It is also known as being extremely tolerant of diversity.
Socio – Cultural Impact. “Sustainable Tourism”http://www.coastlearn.org/tourism/why_socioimpacts.html