Religious Tourism as a Development Factor for Peripheral Areas: The Case of the Polish-Czech Border
Purpose: This article presents selected results of studies on the impact of religious tourism on the development of peripheral areas on the example of the Polish-Czech border area. The study subject was determining whether religious tourism can be a factor conductive to local development. Approach/Methodology/Design: The study was conducted based on data available in public statistics and analysis of available literature of the subject. The study covered 2 sanctuaries: St. Anne Mountain (Góra Świętej Anny) and Turza Śląska, located in the southern border area of Poland, in the communes of Leśnica and Gorzyce. Findings: Religious tourism is not perceived as a development factor in strategic documents of the studied Communes. Increased border traffic and growing spending by foreigners in the border area point out to the development potential of different forms of business in the Polish-Czech border area. Practical Implications: The study has proven that it is necessary to create an integrated tourist product based on cultural, social and religious values of the region in order for the religious tourism to develop. Originality/Value: Proposed solutions are to contribute to a growth in the quality of services offered to religious tourists in both studied Communes.