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Vol. 6 Nº 3 págs. 419-433. 2008


Religious Events as Special Interest Tourism. A Spanish Experience

iiAngeles Rubio Gil
iiiJavier de Esteban Curiel
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (España)

Resumen: Este artículo contribuye al desarrollo de la comprensión teórica en el campo de la gestión del
turismo religioso, considerando el Peregrinaje del Rocío como paradigma alternativo de análisis, el cuál
se ha constituido en un destino capaz de recibir un gran número de viajeros (peregrinos), en un período
corto de tiempo (3 días), sin causar daños en el medio ambiente, tanto ecológico como social, debido a
sus características antropológicas como forma de viaje que dan prioridad a la experiencia humana más
que al consumo de mercado. Así, el modelo investigado en este artículo a través del concepto de “capi-
tal social” es oportuno debido a la confluencia en el análisis de diversas ciencias sociales (antropología,
economía y sociología) y de la teoría y de la técnica del turismo, concluyendo que el mantenimiento de
la autenticidad y de la continuidad de esta forma de turismo religioso se debe planificar no en base a un
modelo de bienes inmuebles como así ha sido hasta ahora, sino en la “no estacionalidad” y en la mejora
de la regulación de la calidad de los servicios proporcionados.

Palabras clave: Turismo religioso; Eventos especiales; Comunidad; Desarrollo local; Capital social;

Abstract: This paper contributes to the development of the theoretical understanding in the field of
religious tourism management by considering the Pilgrimage of the Dew as an alternative paradigm of
analysis, which has been constituted in a destination able to host a very large number of travellers (pil-
grims), in a very short period of time (3 days), without damaging the environment, ecologic and social,
due to the own anthropologic characteristics of this form of travelling that gives priority to the human
experience more than the market consumption. Thus, the model researched in this paper through the
concept of “social capital” is opportune due to the confluence in the analysis of different social sciences
(anthropology, economy and sociology) and from the theory and technique of tourism, concluding that
the maintenance of the authenticity and sustainability of this form of religious tourism should be planned
not on the basis of a real state model as currently, but on the unseasonality and a much better and regu-
lated quality of the services provided.

Keywords: Religious tourism; Special event; Community; Local development, Social capital; Authen-

ii • Dr. Angeles Rubio Gil is Full Time Professor in Marketing Department of Rey Juan Carlos University. She has
tourism research interests in the areas of tourism, sociology, anthropology and marketing.
Email: angeles.rubio@urjc.es; angelesrubio@ono.com
iii • Dr. Javier de Esteban Curiel is Full Timeting Department of Rey Juan Carlos University. He
has research interest in the areas of sociology, cultural tourism and marketing. Currently, his research is focused in
the semiotic impacts of cultural tourism and its link with the urban environment. E-mail: javier.deesteban@urjc.es;
© PASOS. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural. ISSN 1695-7121 420 Religious Events as Special Interest Tourism ...

Introduction Dew is a paradigm as factors, such as the
cultural impacts and the authenticity, are
Religious tourism as a special interest the origin of a particular model of economic
event has a highly complex impact on local impact: the anthropologic and social as-
communities. According to Cohen (1984), pects generate a flow of tourists, organisa-
during their stay in the destination, tour- tion and sustainability very significant of
ists interact with local residents and the this phenomenon, whereas the tourism
outcome of their relationship is changes in industry remains in a very precarious
the host individuals' and host community's situation. In fact, it can be considered as an
quality of life, value systems, labour divi- opportunity to study the movements of
sion, family relationships, attitudes, behav- travellers and their planning from the the-
ioural patterns, ceremonies and creative ory of tourism. As a result, the Pilgrimage
expressions. In particular, socioeconomic of the Dew is considered as a paradigm
impacts of tourism include influx of people from the theoretical framework of the
and related social degradation, impacts on ‘adaptancy platform’, which is the starting
local communities and on cultural values. point of this study pursuing alternatives of
By assessing the ‘Pilgrimage of the Dew’, tourism development, based on local par-
located in the South of Spain (the Village of ticipation and adaptation to the environ-
the Dew belongs to Almonte City Hall, in- ment, taking as well into consideration the
side the Doñana National Park in the prov- multidiscipline perspective of the ‘knowl-
ince of Huelva), a description of both quan- edge-based platform’.
titative and qualitative socioeconomic Cohen (1984) states that tourism is ‘a
measurements of the impact will be pre- modern form of pilgrimage, as the trip is
sented. These measurements give religious also something sacred’. Consequently, the
tourism an opportunity to confirm itself as authenticity of the Pilgrimage of the Dew
a local agent for development. In particu- determines its model of intermediation and
lar, the socioeconomic research of tourism, hospitality, located basically in the domes-
following to classic authors as Cohen tic scope (collective houses, friends and
(1984), tends to focus on four major the- relatives, journeys in horse-carts and pri-
matic areas: the tourist, tourists and hosts, vate cars, supply from the place of origin,
development and structure of the tourist etc.), outside the market activity, in a post-
system, and fundamentally, the impacts of industrial society, but that produces an-
tourism on local communities. other practices only understandable in this
Such impacts are analysed from an eco- socioeconomic environment. Talking about
nomic but also from a cultural perspective, pilgrims and tourism as a pass-through rite
and it is on this last where a debate has (Turner, 1973; Cohen 1988) is also in the
raised around the issue of authenticity. case of the Dew about a community rite not
Studies have been carried out, both theo- contaminated by the marketing, the mix-
retical and empirical ones, in order to cre- ture and the theatre sense of post-
ate a framework which is divided into four modernism. It is a searching of the social
platforms (Jafari, 1984; Lea, 1988): the and ethnic roots, face to the lost of refer-
optimistic conceptualisation, the pessimis- ences of the contemporary society. How-
tic or warning, the adaptancy, and the ever, this pilgrimage has economic impacts,
knowledge-based with systematic and de- understandable just from appropriate con-
tailed studies that examines tourism as a cepts of this community, such as the social
holistic and multidiscipline approach. In- capital or the sustainable development.
deed, currently tourism ‘is considered as a Moreover, and not less important, this
‘mega-system’ that generates and receives model of tourism development allows a
in a context of interdependence of struc- slightly but consistent set up of alternative
tures and forces’ (Jafari, 1989), where is tourism activities in conjunction with fes-
quite difficult to separate the cultural and tivity.
economic dimension, but on the contrary, to In this context, this research provides
tie up these related concepts each other. an alternative paradigm of analysis to the
Hence, the case of the Pilgrimage of the development of the theoretical understand-
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Angeles Rubio Gil y Javier de Esteban Curiel 421

ing in the field of religious tourism man- are endogen resources, it results coherent
agement by considering the Pilgrimage of the structure of a local tourism supply
the Dew from the confluence of different which acts in the middle term as an impor-
social sciences (anthropology, economy and tant factor of development (Pardellas and
sociology). Padin, 2004). In this sense, there are two
approaches in finding the research idea. On
Socioeconomic dimension of cultural and one hand, from a scientific-academic per-
religious tourism spective, this study explores in depth the
nature of cultural and religious tourism.
Cultural and religious tourism, together On the other hand, this study seeks to ana-
with other alternative forms of tourism lyse the socioeconomic impact and the
strengthens the local economies and con- structure of the expenditures produced by
tributes to sustainable development. In this kind of tourism, from an anthropologi-
fact, tourism as a development agent is an cal, economical and sociological point of
idea that it has been maintained since its view.
origins with mass tourism. During the 60’s
and 70’s tourism was considered as a mod- Research Methodology
ernisation factor in Third World countries This research combines several tech-
st ndand economically poor areas, and from the niques: (1 ) participative observation, (2 )
80’s in the local development framework, as in-depth interviews which were carried out
th th rdan strategy for the creation of employment from the 10 to 13 of May 2005, and (3 )
and the growing based on the territory management of secondary statistics re-
harmony, the initiative and the sustainabil- sources. A case study has been used as the
ity, promoted from the local and interna- form for this research as it ensures the
tional institutions, such as the European explanation of the Pilgrimage of the Dew as
Union (since the Delors Survey and the a local development phenomenon.
Employment White Book). A case study contributes to a better un-
Religious tourism can have wider derstand the phenomenon researched by
longer-term benefits as a local development studying single examples. In this current
agent, both in the eyes of visitors and resi- research, a case study was applied in the
dents, and lead to a sustained enhance- ‘the Brotherhood of Ronda’. Indeed, taking
ment of cultural and art facilities in the a Brotherhood as a case study seems to be
region. Holh and Tisdell (1995) confirm appropriate as most of the tourism activity
that tourism could develop the education. flows are structured around the Brother-
Clearly, developing the tourism industry hoods in one side, and the visitor in the
once required minimum training for most other side; moreover there are qualitative
jobs, but education is important if one differences in the private and collective
wants develop a long-term tourism, and expenses that are produced in the groups of
special training programs could help to pilgrims from large distance, and those of
produce adequately skilled local labour. the close Brotherhoods.
This belief is shared by Jafari (in Richards, It is not simple to detract the expenses
1993), where cultural and religious tourism and incomes in the case of an activity as
can develop as a local agent of develop- the Pilgrimage where most of the consump-
ment, the quality of life both in urban and tion is not marketed, and where the major-
rural settings. The degree to which so- ity of the employment and the private in-
comes are informal (there is no declaration ciocultural impacts are experienced by host
of the tourism renting, no regularisation of communities may depend on a number of
the spontaneous and temporary employ-factors, including the number and type of
tourists, the nature of tourism development ment). All time, this economic activity is
in the area, and the pace of development. heavily related with the rites and tradi-
From the above, is clear that cultural tions, so that, it seems appropriate to start
and religious tourism activity is an element from a method proper of the social anthro-
for local development, based on the idea pology, that is the participative observa-
that each territory has interesting potential tion. To that end, the authors were partici-
resources able of being offer, and as they pated in the life of the Village of the Dew,
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422 Religious Events as Special Interest Tourism ...

and outside it, for three days. the consumption is not traded, and the
Some semi-structured in-depth inter- preservation of the cultural and spiritual
views were carried out. Those interviews richness is preferred from others criterions
were conducted either one-to-one or in focus such as lucrative profit. Thus, religious
groups of three to five pilgrims, and accord- tourism plays a sure role on the preserva-
ing to aspects related to the expenses which tion of cultural heritage and its environ-
allows us to elaborate different patterns ment.
such as the performance of the travel (pri- However, it must be taken into consid-
vate, collective, tourism), place of origin of eration that the survival of pilgrimage des-
the pilgrims (long, medium or short way), tinations, although it cannot be fixed just
the size of each Brotherhood (large, me- the tourism logic of profit’s maximisation,
dium or small), the kind of consumption will depend on the use of proper tools for
(household, private), and the employment tourism planning (incomes study, carrying
(public, household, private). The interviews capacity of an attraction, etc.), in order
lasted from 30 to 60 minutes. their developments will be produced in
The third technique used for this re- sustainable basis, and meanwhile, will be
search with the intention of combining the compatible with the economic and social
deductive and the inductive method, from life of the local area and so for their sur-
the general to the particular and vice- vival.
versa, has been the use of empirical data
measuring the economic impact through Cultural and Religious Tourism in Spain
the direct study of business and employ- Concerning cultural tourism, there is a
ment related to the tourism activity (i.e. combination of cultural values and eco-
secondary statistics of expenses and in- nomic factors which have achieved that this
comes of the City Hall Almonte; manage- kind of tourism is one of the most worthy.
ment of secondary statistics sources about In fact, cultural tourism represents one of
Almonte economy; management of secon- the major future growth activities of global
dary statistics sources about other models tourism demand for this new millennium.
of religious tourism in Europe; manage- In fact, during the 1990s, cultural tourism
ment of primary sources about the ex- was identified as one of the major future
penses and incomes of the Brotherhoods; growth areas in Europe (Zeppel and Hall,
management of primary sources about pri- 1992). The WTO (1993) estimated that 37%
vate expenses and consumptions; manage- of all international trips would have a cul-
ment of primary sources about collective tural element, and this figure would be
expenses and consumption from the Broth- increased annually by 15% yearly. The
erhoods) growth of demand for cultural tourism is
also supported by the evolution in tourism
Pilgrimages patterns, which show a clear tendency to-
The pilgrimage is a phenomenon much ward shorter stays and a greater fragmen-
earlier from tourism, as modern concept tation of holidays. The shortening of vaca-
which establishes the movements of visi- tions multiplies shorts visits, focussed
tors within the mass consumption society, mainly on urban and cultural tourism.
where the travel is set up as a form of lei- In particular, tourism authorities in
sure. Although, it can be considered with Spain have been aware about this tendency
the qualification of tourist the flows of and give priority to promote cultural tour-
travellers which main motivation is the ism. As it well known, Spain is a successful
achievement to receptive sites with reli- tourist destination. However, the fact of
gious character, however this phenomenon being identified as a beach product has led
exceeds the features from most of the tour- to problems of seasonality and geographical
ism products as the link is done between concentration (Boniface and Cooper, 2001).
pilgrims and consumers. So, on this par- This fact has made the authorities react,
ticular point lies the difficulty to study the and they are now on the way to developing
socioeconomic impact of religious pilgrim- new products and to diversifying the Span-
ages; in another words, to apply the usual ish tourist supply. To reach this objective,
assessments of tourism economy as most of they are developing different plans to im-
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Angeles Rubio Gil y Javier de Esteban Curiel 423

prove the quality of destinations (‘Planes de local customs.
Excelencia y Dinamización’) and within the 4. Moreover, cultural and religious tourism
objectives of these plans, cultural tourism conciliate two fundamental aspects for
is considered as a priority bet for the future Public Authorities, as the preservation
(Güemes, 2001). It cannot be forgotten that of heritage and local development.
Spain is the country with the largest num- From the demand side:
ber of named World Heritage Sites and that 1. The social uniformity of the globalisa-
it possesses more than 7.500 properties tion makes more desirable of praising
declared of cultural interest (known as BIC: everything that maintains the local
‘Bien de Interés Cultural’) (Marchena, identity.
1998). In fact, the market share of Spain in 2. The high sequences of changes and the
cultural tourism is 8,2%, and Spain re- shortness that suffers the contemporary
ceives 8,5 millions of cultural tourists per society provokes that human beings look
year, which almost 60% are foreigners. for traditional references and authentic-
These ones, account for 12% of the total ity.
foreign tourism incomes, and 7,7% of the 3. The increase of the cultural level from
currency incomes (Instituto de Estudios the population influences also in the
Turísticos, 2001). demand of cultural tourism.
Even this apparently cultural tourism 4. An important part of the middle class
richness, Spain does not have a strong im- looks for a more elitist leisure as a way
age of cultural tourism destination such as to rise its human capital, but as well as
France or Italy. According to Serra and a way of differentiation and prestige.
Pujol (2001), this can be attributed two 5. The growing commodification of culture
main reasons: the strong image of a “sun has led it to the mass consumption of
and sea” destination and the non-existence shows instead of as a source of knowl-
of the heritage product (although the re- edge.
source exist). Therefore, the current efforts 6. The burst out of regional and local val-
of the national government are focused on ues as well as the return of religious
the establishment of a plan (‘Plan de Im- values are with no doubt another post-
pulso al Turismo Cultural e Idiomático’) modern characteristics facing the global-
that includes within its measures the de- isation and the uproot.
velopment of [cultural] tourism and a big- Tourism experts Claudine Chaspoul and
ger use of the national [culture] (Güemes, Martine Lunven (1993) state four different
2001). perspectives of religious tourism where the
In this context, the main reasons of the demand lies on:
development of cultural and religious tour- a) The spiritual perspective: religious tour-
ism in Spain could be classified into two ism is a mean for the individual to ap-
blocs, as follows: proach God:
From the supply side: - Some tourists are believers and the pil-
1. The post-modern market requires a big grimage and spiritual retirement are
differentiation of products that cultural part included in their practice of faith.
and religious tourism attains in order to - Some tourists are really attracted by an
increase their share in a high competi- emotion, a place, a climate and its at-
tive and segmented market. mosphere, that allow them a dialogue
2. The secularisation of the Spanish insti- and a consolidation of their faith during
tutions establishes a difference between their trip or visit.
particular confessions and the valorisa- b) The sociological perspective: Religious
tion of cultural heritage, so for the in- tourism is a mean for the believer of know-
terest of all kind of creeds and ideolo- ing better the history of the religious group
gies. which belongs to, and to tie up its links
3. Public Authorities are really interested with the community.
The cultural perspective: The visit to in this kind of tourism which requires c)
less natural resources, less pollution places of cult and sanctuaries is a mean for
(more quiet leisure, less noise) and re- the individual, both believer and not be-
garding the pilgrimages less harmful for liever, to understand the religions present
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424 Religious Events as Special Interest Tourism ...

in the societies (from a historical, sociologi- nomic impact. Martínez Roger (2003);
cal, symbolical, ethnological, cultural and Goeldner, Richtie and Mcintosh, (2000);
even political point of view). and Swarbrooke (1998) indicate that eco-
d) The geographical perspective: managers nomic impacts of tourism could be classified
of the religious tourism destinations ob- as follows:
serve modifications on the flows and they • Direct effects: those generated as a di-
are adapting to the evolution of the tourism rect consequence of the tourism activity.
market. These variations, according to • Indirect effects: those produced mean-
Montaner Montejano (1996), are been con- while tourism expenses penetrated in
cretised in specific points which lead us to the rest of the economy.
the necessity of an in-depth study of the • Induced effects: monetary flows that
demand and the analytical breakdown of have not been directly originated by
the supply, in order to connect the func- tourism expenses, but that are related
tions that serve as much as the spiritual with the activity.
perspectives, as the sociological, geographi- Furthermore, Sanabria (2002) considers
cal and cultural ones. that the tourism activity presents also
Hence, the nature of religious tourism some negative impacts, such as: territory
could be defined according to the World consumption, consumption of natural re-
Tourism Organisation (WTO, 1985) as ‘the sources, i.e. water, energy, materials; gen-
movement of persons due to essentially erates pollution, both visual and acoustic.
cultural motivations as study travels, trav- However, the positives impacts facilitate
els to festivals and another artistic events, economic development, create employment,
visits to places and monuments, travels to attract visitors keen to natural and cultural
explore the nature, the art, the folklore and heritage, and even generate opinions and
the pilgrimages’. That is, it deals with not actions to stimulate the preservation.
only exclusively visits to monuments, but a Thus, cultural and religious tourism is
wider concept. considered as strategic activity for the em-
The most important cult religious cen- ployment, the production, the generation of
tres in the Christianity scope attract up to value, etc., because of its spreading out in
25 millions pilgrims (the 15% of the migra- the whole economic system. In this sense,
tion believers of this religion). According to this tourism activity affects not only the
Robles Salgado (2001), there are near 8 economy of the region but also directly the
million, 6 million visiting Rome and the quality of life the residents.
Vatican to Lourdes, between 4 and 5 mil-
lion to Fatima and 2 million to Guadalupe Cultural and Religious Tourism as a Local
in Mexico. In other words, the sanctuaries Agent for Development
play an important role in the movement of Cultural and religious tourism sustain-
travellers with religious motivations, but ability for local development has become an
also it means that the Dew as a particular increasingly important strategic goal for
receptive centre achieves numbers of visi- most destinations. It is commonly accepted
tors pretty significant, with more that 1 that constructive partnerships between
million of visitors during the Pilgrimage, industry, local residents and their repre-
without the estimation of those who come sentative governments are a necessary
in other period of the season. condition for sustainability (Middleton,
Religious tourists spend their money on 1997). Destinations have to preserve their
a wide variety of goods and services. They future and search for sustainable develop-
purchase accommodation, food and bever- ment strategies and techniques. Cultural
age, transport, communications, enter- and religious tourism destinations are
tainment services, goods from retail outlets regularly dependent on cultural/heritage
and tour/travel services just to name a few. resources, which are linked to the economic
This money may be seen as an injection of strength of local communities. To sustain
demand into the host economy, i.e. demand cultural and religious tourism, the needs
that would otherwise not be present. How- and values of residents, service providers
ever, the value of tourist expenditure and visitors will be measured in combina-
represents only a partial picture of the eco- tion with the careful plans to facilitate ac-
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Angeles Rubio Gil y Javier de Esteban Curiel 425

ceptable levels of contact between residents ciprocity with other people beyond the
and visitors (Derrett, 1996). When tourism “space” of such association.
is sustained, it will provide an economic The social capital maintains a close rela-
incentive to preserve natural areas for low- tion with another concept more rooted in
impact use (Hassan, 2000). In fact, cultural social sciences: the “political culture”. From
and religious tourism constitute an impor- the definition mentioned before, it can be
tant strategic value for local and regional concluded that the social capital has a sub-
development, a kind of tourism which jective component that includes values and
highly respects the environment, both rus- attitudes shared in a community. The same
tic and urban, so posing less of a threat to author, Putnam, speaks of "civic commu-
the destination and local population. nity" - where citizens actively participate in
The nature of the development of reli- the public issues and in the search of the
gious tourism is linked with cultural tour- collective interest.
ism in its socio-spiritual dimension, al- Moreover, the concept of the social capi-
though it differentiates in this kind of tour- tal has remarkable connections with other
ism, in the fact that there are inherent theoretical traditions, mainly, with the
differences in the rites, the costumes and school of the rational election. In this sense,
the ethical criterions which configure a the idea that the existence of social net-
particular structure of the stay, the eco- works, civic commitment and associative
nomic tissue and the distribution of the life in a society, it will depend on which the
expenses. individuals find rational to participate and
cooperate. Several reasons try to explain
Social Capital as Theoretical Framework of why this participation and cooperation can
this Research be beneficial to maximize the personal well-
Social Capital is a concept of relatively being or utility (Jordana, 2000; Herreros,
recent use. Two decades ago, nobody practi- 2002):
cally spokes of social capital, whereas to- • On one hand, personal relationships
day, it is an essential word of social sci- facilitate useful information. For exam-
ences. Specially, economists and sociolo- ple, they can save time in going directly
gists use this concept frequently and have to the original source of information.
impelled a voluminous literature around • On the other hand, to form social part of
this term. In this context, the diversity of associations and networks provides im-
definitions of capital social is wide and portant relational benefits. For instance,
large. Taking as reference the definition to have a good agenda of contacts allows
proposed by Putnam (1993), one of the to find a job or to perform businesses
greatest experts in this matter, social capi- much quicker.
tal can be can define as the set of norms, On this point, this paper will investigate
relations and social networks sustained in the relationships produced by tourism in
the cooperation and the interpersonal con- the Pilgrimage of the Dew through the so-
fidence. The presence of this type of charac- cial capital as theoretical framework
teristics is, consequently, beneficial for the
life in society. The measurement of the socioeconomic
Like other forms of capital, the social impact of “the Pilgrimage of the Dew”
capital is productive, allowing the attain- The economic study of cultural events is
ment of certain objectives that would be a complex process, as it is composed by a
impossible achieved in their absence. Thus, supply of cultural and tourism attractions
it is evident that a civic association (for of diverse nature which require a specific
example, of neighbours or parents of stu- analyse depending on their essence. For the
dents) whose members express confidence study of the impact of cultural tourism,
relations and mutual cooperation will ob- normally it is established the relationship
st sdtain better results than another one in between “1 the private expenses, 2 the
which they do not take place any type of institutional incomes”, which it is sub-
relationships. In addition, the participation tracted the institutional expenses (i.e.
in this type of associations seems ready to event programmes, infrastructures, en-
maintain relations of cooperation and re- dowments and equipments with their mul-
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426 Religious Events as Special Interest Tourism ...

tiplication effect). - Carrying capacity of the receptive
The problem in the case of the Dew is centre
that most part of the private expenses are - Preservation of the environment
not marketed in the receptive centre, nei- (natural and cultural)
ther the institutional expenses are exclu- - Contribution for the regional de-
sively domain of local authorities while velopment
more public authorities are getting in- The phenomenon of the Dew has crossed
volved (‘Junta de Andalucía’, ‘Consejería de the religious borders and has become a
Salud’, ‘Consejería de Medioambiente’, tourism phenomenon also, with its socio-
etc.). economics impacts and as a local develop-
The quantification of this specific pat- ment agent. In this sense, the Dew has
tern of tourism consumption is highly com- awake the interest of academics for under-
plex. Moreover, as the Dew is a village standing and explaining an event that is
which belongs to a municipality (‘Almonte’) lived yearly by believers and agnostics as
with two more important urban centres an expression of religion or as a gathering
with different features (‘Matalascañas’ as a party respectively.
receptive tourism centre of ‘sun and beach’, Obviously, the religious tourism has
and ‘Almonte’), it is quite difficult to obtain different interpretations depending on the
disaggregated data. Due to this lack of offi- country where similar events are taking
cial statistics, the study of the socioeco- place: Italy, Bosnia, Poland, France, Portu-
nomic impact in the area has been per- gal, etc. However, González and Murphy
formed from the perspective of the direct (1999) point out that the phenomenon of
indirect industrial tourism structure, as the pilgrimage to the Village of the Dew
well as the expenses and incomes proper of acquires unusual dimensions in this kind of
tourism: phenomena and it is surrounded by tourism
1. Approach to the private tourism ex- interpretations that go beyond the most
penses in situ (individual and collective elemental religious feeling. Following are
in the case of the Brotherhoods). the mainly socioeconomic impacts that
2. Description and study of the direct and have been detected:
indirect tourism industry. 1. Few local residents in comparison with
3. Comparison of the receptive model with the floating population of the high sea-
the other centres of religious tourism. son. Then, the economic opportunities of
4. The incomes of the local corporation of the area are limited as the tourism ac-
‘Almonte’ as the cultural phenomenon of tivities outside the pilgrimages dates
the Dew. (The Dew and the Small Dew basically,
5. The expenses of the local corporation of as Christmas more recently). The popu-
‘Almonte’ as the same concept as above. lation registered in the Village of the
On the other hand, culture is becoming Dew is 15.300 persons.
a good which can be used, consumed and 2. There is a very important number of
subsequently it generates richness (com- visitors and above all tourists (which
modification of the culture). On this point, overstay at least one night) concentrated
the socioeconomic impact could be material- in a very short period (from two days to
ised and studied from the tourism value of one week).
the destination, from two interesting per- 3. Flows very concentrated on time (during
spectives for the economy: the pilgrimages) and on the space (in the
1. The socioeconomic impact of the tourism Village).
structures (direct and indirect) already 4. This concentration on time and space
existing. ects to the expenses detraction (most aff
of the supplies are acquired outside the 2. The potentiality as a tourism attraction
Village). which provides future opportunities of
5. The cult is done in a double context (The richness generation, consisting in the
maintenance of the relationship between sanctuary of the Dew and the places of
the growth and the development. This origin from the Brotherhoods), so that it
relationship is quite associated in econ- detracts the expenses on place and the
omy on three concepts: inclusion in the commercial circuit of the
PASOS. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural, 6(3). 2008 ISSN 1695-7121

Angeles Rubio Gil y Javier de Esteban Curiel 427

Village from the supply and the tradi- local authorities.
tional elements which accompany to the b- There is no richness induced in the
pilgrim (horse, horse-wagons, tradi- area due to the fact that some
tional clothes, etc.). owner are not from the Village.
6. Lack of hotel supply in the Village. But c- It affects negatively to the construc-
higher supply in rural accommodations, tion sector and the employment.
even so it is not quite significant in the d- It avoids the use of another kind of
area for such important combination of
lodging that complement the sup-
receptive centres:
ply accommodation of the area a- Sun and beach tourism in ‘Matalas-
and that reverts economic and cañas’
employment effects above all out-b- Ecotourism in ‘Almonte’ and ‘Las
side the high season of the Dew. Marismas’
11. Regarding the employment: c- Religious and cultural tourism in the
Dew a- Development of contracts with local
7. Very considerable supply of non- authorities:
hotels accommodation of private and • Health services
particular character (it is not realised • Environment protection services
through a state agent). • Fire services
8. Large prevention health network,
• Cleaning path services
but there is no care centres neither free
• Civil engineering services hostels, low-cost hostels or youth hos-
• Security services tels.
• Parking services 9. There is no popular food centres.
• Cleaning services Particulars of private character provide
b- Enlargement of the commerce and this service to the Brotherhoods. In fact,
this is one of the peculiarities of the re- private services staff:
ceptive system of the Dew: the hospital- • Food and beverages services
ity is done by the visitors, in a group ba- • Tourism services
sis, which have their own Brotherhoods’ • Local shops
houses. Tourism that does not belong to
the network of the Brotherhoods is mi-
The above socioeconomic impacts can be
nority and can feel itself isolated, even
summarised into the Figure 1. as a ‘foreigner’ with regard to the lack of
complementary supply or alternative
The Main Socioeconomic Impacts of the where to stay. That is the food and bev-
Dew erage centres and the accommodation
The main impact of the pilgrimage to are private, so the consumption is not
charged and exclusively for members of the Dew is reflected in the diversification of
the Brotherhoods and not tourists. the economic activities developed in the
10. There are more than 341 lodges Village of the Dew, as a reply to the incipi-
inhabited and 1.826 free lodges (the last ent tourism development that has gone in
data available corresponding to 1996), parallel to the transformation process of
so in total 2.167 in the Village of the the Pilgrimage during the last thirty years.
Dew. The free lodges are used by the In this sense, the tourism model corre-
Brotherhoods and particulars as provi- sponded to the ‘Almonte’ City Hall as a
sional residences and many of them are destination, it can be said that there are
rented with very high prices in short pe- three types of tourism models which receive
riods (during the Pilgrimage and visitors flows: sun and beach tourism lo-
Christmas). This last point implies im- cated mainly in ‘Matalascañas’; nature
portant issues from a economic and tourism with greenways around ‘Doñana’
tourism point of view: and religious tourism focused in the Village
a- There is a hotel lodge not regulated, of the Dew with cultural resources and
with no licence so no incomes for attractions.
PASOS. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural, 6(3). 2008 ISSN 1695-7121

428 Religious Events as Special Interest Tourism ...

Figure 1. Socioeconomic impacts of the Pilgrimage of the Dew in the area (Own Elaboration).

In the
and economic
activities related
with tourism
in the Village

In the urban In the Socioeconomic development and environmental
impact of the real estate quality of
the Pilgrimage of the Village the Village and
of the Dew surroundings
(National Park
of Doñana)

In the quality of life of the
local residents
of the Village

In particular, the religious tourism visitors above all during the peak sea-
model of the Village of the Dew is based in sons.
the organisation of tourism and consump- 6. The stay is done basically through pri-
tion flows which are spotlighted around the vate accommodations in property or
cult of the Virgin and depending on the above all renting character.
suitable season for the celebration of popu- 7. The hotel infrastructures and similar
lar events. Some characteristics of this sui are used just by approximately 1,1 per
generis tourism model of the Dew are: 1.000 visitors during the time of tourism
1. Visitors travel in group basis (in Broth- high season.
erhoods or family and friends groups). 8. The hospitality services (food and bev-
2. The activities are orientated towards the erages) are quite insignificant. Only
traditions and the interpersonal rela- 1,3% approximately of the pilgrims used
tionships. this kind of tourism supply.
3. The food and beverage supply is brought
from the places of origin as the tradi- Tourism Expenses Analysis
tional clothes, horse-dressing and mobile With regards to the socioeconomic ef-
houses which are not regulated. fects of religious tourism, these will depend
4. Small tourism business, often familiar on three basic economic operations: the
commerce with difficulties for the mar- expenses of private consumption; the in-
keting and planning of their products in comes of Public Authorities; and the rein-
the Village of the Dew. vestments of profits coming from tourism.
5. Accommodation of low class categories In this paper, it will be just mentioned the
with not enough offer of staying infra- assessment of private expenses as they are
structures to facilitate the service to the most direct socioeconomic effect of reli-
PASOS. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural, 6(3). 2008 ISSN 1695-7121

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