Thinking about going on a pilgrimage, but not quite sure what to expect or how best to prepare? Have you been asked to organise a pilgrimage but your not quite sure what to do? Are you interested in walking in the footsteps of Jesus while not leaving a damaging environmental footprint or harming indigenous communities?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes then read on.
The following pages have been written to take some of the pain out of organising a pilgrimage and the anxiety that many have as to what to expect when in the Holy Land. The pages offer practical advice and suggestions as to how you can have a spiritually enriching experience while also doing something positive (and doing no harm) to local communities.
The advice offered starts from the understanding that tourism is one the world's most significant industries, and arguably the one with the strongest impact on people. The potential for tourism to cause harm both to the environment and indigenous communities is enormous.
Pilgrimages are no different.
Your motives for going on a pilgrimage - whether to Lourdes or to the Holy Land - might be entirely spiritual, but it's still possible to unwittingly cause harm and offence. Pilgrims, like tourists, ought to act and behave responsibly at all times.
The company that caters for you might be a specialised tour operator, but it is still part of the same industry. It is subject to the same pressures as other tour operators and can still cause a wide variety different kinds of disruption. The pilgrimage industry, just like the tourist industry has the power to cause both considerable good and harm.
The following pages are designed to help you be an ethical pilgrim and to help you to organise an ethical pilgrimage. It provides lots of practical information to ensure that, when you go on a pilgrimage or when you travel as a pilgrim, your impact on the local environment, culture and people is positive rather than negative.
In particular, these pages will help you encounter and support the ever-diminishing Christian population of Palestine and Israel through your pilgrimage journey.
Although written with the Holy Land in mind the principles apply to other areas.
To learn more about ethical tourism in general click here.